Encouragement for Today - March 1, 2006



Encouragement for Today


“An Ugly Ol’ Heart” – Part 1

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries


Key Verse:

1 Chronicles 28:9, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.  If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you.” (NIV)



Have you ever had an ugly ol’ heart toward God about something? One time my husband and I found ourselves blessed with a little extra money.  Immediately, I had visions of new toile fabric kitchen curtains cascading down my windows.  I was so excited – but my husband was not.  In my defense, I pulled out some handy-dandy Scriptures straight from Proverbs 31 where I showed him how this biblical woman made coverings for her bed, certain she made matching window treatments as well.  Art still wasn’t convinced.  Gently he told me that he felt led to give the money to ministry.


Ministry?  Our whole lives were dedicated to ministry!   Plus, I would have felt so much more refreshed, could I have just had a chance to express my God-given creativity through decorating and improving the environment of our home.  My husband wasn’t buying it and slowly my countenance turned sour and my words turned cold and flat toward my husband.


“Look Lysa,” Art finally said, exasperated, “if it’s that big of a deal, we’ll get the curtains.”


I had won!  You’d think I’d be overcome with joy and glee, but I caught a passing glimpse of my face in our bathroom mirror and it wasn’t a happy one.  It was harsh and pinched.   Was there anything wrong with new curtains?  No.  Was there anything wrong with my heart?  Oh yes – and it had manifested itself in my physical countenance as well.


I want to look at the first part of today’s key verse and challenge you to think about the way you are being stewards of the time, talents and treasures God has entrusted to you.  When Solomon became king, God blessed him with an abundance of everything his heart could have wanted – wisdom, riches, women, children, and an entire kingdom in which to rule.  With such responsibility came great expectation and I believe God desires no less of each of us.  To manage such responsibility, King David challenged Solomon to do these three specific things:


  1. Acknowledge God first.  When debating with my husband about the curtains, I hadn’t even stopped to pray and ask God what He wanted us to do with the extra money He had given us.  I hadn’t acknowledged the blessing was from Him and thus didn’t even consider we should probably use it for Him.
  2. Serve Him in wholehearted devotion.  Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Had I given God my heart in that situation?  No.  Instead of my monetary treasure being devoted to the Kingdom of God, it was selfishly devoted to my desire for a nicer home.  
  3. Serve Him with a willing mind.  Not only had I skipped praying about what to do with the money, and jumped straight to what I wanted instead, I had also been unwilling to bend to my husband’s desire.  I had allowed an ensuing argument and resentment to develop as a result of my refusal to have a willing mind.


Just as David challenged Solomon to keep his heart and mind focused on pleasing God, I believe God tests our faith in these little things on a daily basis as well.  I can say that for the most part I failed the first part of my test; but praise God He doesn’t give up on His children.  Read on tomorrow for the “rest of the story.”


My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, help me to acknowledge You in all things.  I desire to be devoted to You wholeheartedly with all that I have and do.  Help me to have a willing mind and spirit when You nudge me to do the things that aren’t always comfortable, desirable, or even make sense.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:

If you have an ugly ol’ heart about something that God is asking you to do, try the following:


  1. Take a few minutes to get quiet with the Lord and ask Him to forgive you for having an unyielding heart to the situation at hand.  I will warn you that this is effective and God will meet with you if you do this.  His Word promises that He will and you will need to be prepared to hear all He has to say to you.
  2. Remember that an ugly heart will manifest itself in other ways so you may need to go to the people, places, or things you have sinned against (ex: the ensuing resentment between my husband and I) and ask for forgiveness as well. 
  3. Let go of the reigns.  Many times our refusal to let God do what He wants is because we want to be in control for fear we may lose something we love.  Choose to let go and trust that God has your best interest in mind.
  4. Smile.


Reflection Points:

  1. In what areas of your life are you refusing to acknowledge God as Lord over? 
  2. Where are you serving/not serving God in wholehearted devotion?
  3. In what way are you struggling to have a willing mind and spirit when the Lord directs you to do something?  Is it a submission issue where you just don’t trust God?


Power Verses:

Proverbs 15:13, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” (NIV)


Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God not gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (NIV)


Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?” (NIV)


Colossians 3:1, “Set your heart on things above, not on earthly things.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst



The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes



Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst



Originally published Wednesday, 01 March 2006.