Encouragement 06-25-04


June 25, 2004
Encouragement for Today
My Septic Heart
Wendy Pope
Key Verse:
Matthew 12:34 "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."

"All you do is yell at the kids."  Those are not encouraging words to hear from your husband.  Like nails piercing the deepest part of my being, his words challenged my fitness as a mother. I immediately became defensive.  Inside I was yelling back all the excuses that I could muster up for why I "had to yell."  But what I realized is.... my husband was right. 
As the sound of his words echoed through my mind they begin to penetrate my heart.  I heard the small whispering voice of the Holy Spirit convicting me.  Why did I yell?  The excuses I was offering seemed justified.  After all, I had Jesus in my heart.  Why wasn't His love flowing from me? I begin to pray and soon came to understand that the yelling was just a symptom of a deeply-rooted problem: a septic heart. My heart and my mouth are closely related.  If I want to stop yelling at my kids and expressing God's love to them, it is vitally important that I begin filling my heart with the things of God.
The word septic as defined in Webster's Dictionary means: to make rotten, of, relating to, or having the nature of sepsis.  The word sepsis means: the presence of disease-causing organisms or their toxins in the blood or tissues. My heart was unclean. The anger was a disease-causing organism toxin in my blood and tissues, which was a side effect of unresolved issues in my heart - issues I had been carrying with me for years.
If you are like me, you are having a tough time taming your tongue or controlling your temper.  You realize that you heart is being or has been poisoned by the toxins of: anger, resentment, unmet expectations, unforgiveness, bitterness, or dreams that have not been fulfilled.  I have discovered four simple truths that have helped me begin to detoxify my heart.  The toxins are not completely gone but I take the "antioxidant" of His Word daily to combat their effects.  Try it! And you don't need a spoon full of sugar to help this medicine go down.
Renew your Heart every morning (Isaiah 50:4-5)
Oh, it must be in the morning because we have a day of living to do and we need His guidance.  If we get satisfied with Him each morning then we won't seek satisfaction from things of this world. 
Repent daily (Psalm 51:10)
We can't carry the burden and conviction of our sin from day to day.  Our heart needs to be clean as we begin the day.  Lighten your load.  He died for your sin.
Rend your heart often (Joel 2:12-13)

Examine your heart honestly and ask God to help you identify those things that are not of Him. Giving up things isn't easy but through Christ, all things are possible.
Rest your heart when needed (Psalm 127:3)
Though not always practical, sometimes lying down for a quick nap is just what the heart and soul need.  Your body is a temple of God, so close the doors and rest.

My prayer for today
Lord, you are slow to anger. Make that make my desire.  Help me submit totally to your control so I can be a reflection of your love to my family and those who cross my path.  I want to surrender the things in my heart that are not of you.  I realize it is impossible for me to allow your love to flow from me with a heart that harbors past hurts and sin.  I want to make a new start today in our relationship.

Application Steps:
Ask God to help you be slow to anger.
Ask your family to forgive you for your behavior and to pray for you.
Stop, leave the room and pray before you yell.  If you can't leave, stop and pray.
Ask a friend to hold you accountable for your temper. 
Write your angry moments down and share them with this friend.

Reflection Points:
What is in my heart that is not of God? (i.e. bitterness, unforgiveness.)
Do I really believe that God can help me with my temper?
Who have I offended or hurt with my behavior?

Power verses:
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)  Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful and for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. 
Psalm 141:3 (NIV) Set a guard over my mouth, O lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 63:3 (NIV) Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Additional resources:
Don't Make Me Count To Three by Ginger Plowman
Survival Kit for Moms by Mary Southerland
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

Originally published Friday, 25 June 2004.