“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
There is a scene from the movie National Treasure that has resonated with me since the first time I saw it. It is a brief conversation between the two main characters, Abigail Chase and Ben Gates. In the scene, Ben has just finished beautifully articulating to Abigail why finding the treasure is so important to him. After he finishes speaking, Abigail smiles playfully and asserts to Ben that, “People don’t really talk that way.”
He responds to her by stating, “I know, but they think that way.”
In the movie, Ben’s entire life is encompassed by an overwhelming desire to find the treasure that he believed to be real. This desire led him to think differently about his quest and to speak unashamedly about the object of his affection, the National Treasure.
As Christians, do we display this same kind of tenacity when we seek after the Lord? Or are there other “treasures” that we find ourselves thinking and speaking more passionately about?
The Bible says that,
“Where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also.” Matthew 6:21
“From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
So, when the Lord is the treasure that we are seeking after, it will be His goodness that fills our hearts and overflows from our mouths.
If we consider the Psalms, it quickly becomes evident that the authors viewed God as their greatest treasure. The psalmists composed and sang verses like,
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Psalms 42:1
“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalms 27:4
The passion that the psalmists had for the Lord was expressed so beautifully in their poetry and to this day, their words are still captivating hearts and minds.
Yet, Satan would have us believe that,
“people don’t really talk that way”.
He hisses this lie at us in a desperate attempt to diminish our testimony. He wants us to remain silent and to be too embarrassed to say things that will glorify Christ and stir unbelievers to repentance. But, don’t ever let the enemy discourage you from singing praises to God, from declaring the Truth where there are lies, or from speaking love to the broken-hearted.
Always allow your mouth to overflow with God’s goodness. The world needs Christians whose lives are encompassed by an overwhelming desire to discover Christ and who are unashamed to proclaim His glory. Let us not be a generation of believers that merely “think” boldly about our Savior. Instead, as we draw nearer to Him each day, may there be an obvious change in the way that we “talk” with the world around us.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
As a mom of two young children, I have seen both of them fall down many times. Usually after they fall, they run over to me, with tears in their eyes, pointing to where their “ouchie” is. The next part is my favorite, because usually, all I have to do is simply kiss the “ouchie” and say two magic words: “All better!" Then all the pain seems to magically be forgotten, the tears disappear, and the playing resumes.
There are times in life when our children fall and a simple kiss helps them feel better. However, there are also times when it does take more than a kiss and a few simple words to help ease the pain. We might need to use a cloth to clean up the dirt and blood, maybe even use some antibacterial cream, and then seal it with a bandage to let it heal. Occasionally, a doctor’s visit might be necessary. In these healing processes, it may cause more pain to our children when we have to clean the wound, or do something even more extensive. However, as loving parents, we know that we can’t let our children stay untreated. In that moment, they may be begging us to just leave it alone, out of fear of more pain. But we know that avoiding temporal pain now would result in even more severe pain later.
As followers of Christ, God is our loving Abba Father and He sees the many wounds of His children. Some of those wounds might be minor ones that we run to Him and ask Him to heal quickly. Some, however, are wounds we have allowed to remain untreated for way too long, out of fear of more pain we might experience from Him cleaning up the wound. When we’ve been hurt by someone or gone through a severe trial, it can seem easier to just bury that pain down deep, choosing to remain sad or angry. Like our children do with us, we might beg God to just leave our wound alone so we don’t have to deal with it or relive the pain. However, once we allow God to clean out our infected wounds, we can experience freedom from that anger and hurt. He can bring about forgiveness and joy in our hearts that we never thought possible. Psalm 147:3 tells us, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God is more than capable to heal our wounds, however, we have to be willing to let Him. The healing process can involve pain and time, but if we continue to leave it buried and not dealt with, the pain will be so much worse, like an untreated wound. Only God can “turn my lament into dancing…and clothe me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11).
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Quarantine has brought out the gardener in me. I know, it shocked me as well! For years, my thumb has been brown. If it resembled a plant or flower, you better believe that I could kill that thing in no time. However, this season of life has caused me to slow down, to be intentional, which is a really good thing for my flower garden.
In the cool of the morning, I slip out into the backyard to check on the flowers. The weather overnight and the morning’s sun will determine the physical appearance of the flowers. If there was a heavy storm, the plants will reflect this. The petals are normally hanging off the stem or found nearby on the ground after the rain has come through. If the sun is too hot, the flowers will be wilted and brown. At first, this really discouraged me. Having ugly flowers was really depressing. I bought the flowers to bring about some brightness and color to my life.
Determined to grow out of my brown-thumb stage, I did some research. Turns out, flowers falling off the plants or withering is a normal occurrence. I learned that each day, I must go out and “dead head” my flowers. This simply means, I look carefully at each flower and assess its health. If it is withered or brown, I simply “pop-off” (deadhead) the flower. Getting rid of the old flowers makes way for the new flowers to blossom. Within days, new flowers were peeking through, refreshed, and full of color. I also learned that the practice of deadheading allows the plant to bloom longer than if the unhealthy flowers are left on the plant.
It is in these quiet moments of tending to my flower garden that Jesus speaks truth to my heart. “Sarah, I do the same thing to you each day. I look at what is withering or dying in your life, and I prune it away. It hurts a little, but the outcome is so beautiful. When you allow me to come in and replace the old with new, you blossom in a way you never could have on your own. I give you life. I give you color. I renew your heart and your mind.”
You see, Jesus is not content with us staying the way we are. John 15:1-2 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Did you catch that last part? God prunes us so that we can be even more fruitful. He wants to fill us to the point of overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the attributes that bring about the most beauty in our lives. We are most like Jesus when we are displaying these fruits, living them out fully in our lives. Our hearts beat with His, we bring Him glory, we reflect His beauty.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Forget the withered, dying flowers of your past. Allow Jesus to come in and do a new thing in you. Allow Him to spring up new life in you. Allow Jesus to bring streams of living water to your heart, mind, body, and soul.
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This summer, I had the pleasure of taking a day trip with a few friends down the Weeki Wachee River in Florida. Two friends were in kayaks and another friend and I were on our stand-up paddle boards (SUP). A SUP - which looks like a surfboard - is designed to be stood on and a paddle is used to steer and propel through the water. Good balance is essential!
We had packed our lunches, cold drinks and sunscreen and we were ready for the adventure. After we put our water vessels in at the boat ramp, we headed toward the spring of Weeki Wachee. The water traffic was flowing both ways; some were going the same way we were - struggling against the current with the breeze in our faces and others were going the opposite direction with the current and the breeze pushing them forward, they had it much easier. We navigated around tree roots, low-lying branches with spider webs and spiders, as well as other people who were on floats, jet skis, SUPs and even boats.
As we rounded one bend in the river, four kayakers were traveling directly toward us, the current and wind were pushing them so they were going FAST. Three of them swerved away from us but the 4th kayaker looked panicked; she didn't have her paddles in the water and wasn't trying to navigate away from me. She simply yelled, “I don’t know what to do!” I quickly assessed the situation - all I could do was drop to my knees, hold on and brace for impact! And that’s exactly what I did! We collided, thankfully, no one was injured and I didn't fall in the water!
As I stood back up, the words, “every knee will bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord….” came to mind. Philippians 2:9-11 states, “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (NIV). One day, every person will know beyond a doubt that Jesus is God’s Son, and He is the Savior of the world. And on that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to the glory of God the Father. I imagine that we might quickly drop to our knees when we are before Him and see His glory; His perfection; His unconditional love.
There may be times when we physically get on our knees as we humble ourselves, pray and surrender. Other times we may bow our hearts in worship and surrender. The best way to navigate this challenging life is to drop to our knees, hold on tightly and surrender to the Almighty One who paid it all for you and me.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.