As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. Prov 27:19
Our heart bears witness of our true selves.
When heart is spoken of in the scriptures it’s not referring to the organ beating inside of our chest. It refers to our emotions, our desires/will, what and how we think, etc. It testifies to what is happening on the inside of us in these areas.
When my heart witnesses about me, what does it say?
In the past it would have reflected insecurity, self-centeredness, worry, but now at this present time, I am confident that my heart reflects Jesus. It is a glad heart, a heart inclined to God, a heart burning with desire to serve him and live for him. It reflects gratitude and love. I am relieved that reflections are only limited to the current state of the image bearer. Past images no longer matter. All that matters is my reflection today and it reflects Jesus.
Dear God, thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for loving me and working in me to resemble more of your Son. My desire is that I always reflect Jesus. Amen.
For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
There’s this saying, “Gossip dies when it hits a wise person’s ears.” This verse speaks directly to that. When we don’t stoke the fire of gossip, quarrels and bickering, when we don’t instigate by speaking life into the wrong things, they die out. Sometimes, especially where there’s been a genuine offense, it’s easy to justify why we won’t stop adding wood to the fire of that offense, but this Proverb speaks to the wisdom in letting the fuel stop with us.
I strongly believe that there is always room for healthy conversation and dialogue when perhaps there is a misunderstanding or an offense or if something needs some clarity. I think that having openness and humility to have difficult conversations is a characteristic of a good leader and it’s something that I always want to do well. A part of doing that well means learning to separate healthy channels of communication from gossiping and fruitless venting.
Here are just a couple of questions we can be asking ourselves in moments when we want to speak up:
- Is this the right person to speak to? Is the person I’m speaking to someone who can help the situation in any way? Are they involved in any way and is letting them in on it a necessary step towards resolution?
- Does this conversation pass the Phil 4:8 test? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Is what I’m saying honorable, is it just, is it pure or am I speaking dishonorably, unjustly, unkindly?
- Is this going to build up or is it going to tear down? Will this help or will this hurt? The truth can hurt sometimes, but truth is meant to be spoken in love. Love builds people up, it doesn’t tear people down. It makes room for growth and improvement, it makes room for us to assume the best.
Father, thank you for giving us tools to live wisely. Jesus, thank you that you are the best example ever of knowing when to speak up in love and when to stop a negative word in it’s track. Holy Spirit, I pray that you would bring this word to mind and help it to give us pause when we are about to add wood to a fire that should be snuffed out. In your name, Jesus. Amen.
“Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel.”
In the literal, a silversmith is the person working, shaping, and forming the silver into a useful vessel. In the light of the inspired word of God, we are the silver and God is the silversmith.
The definition of dross is “foreign matter, dregs, or mineral waste, in particular scum formed on the surface of molten metal. In order to remove the dross from silver, there are a few ways it can be done. The first and most common way is to heat the ore to an extremely high temperature, allowing the silver to separate from the ore. This is what we would consider being refined through the fire. This is also what happens to us when we are being tested by the Lord, stretched by our circumstances, and put under pressure. Usually, things like wrong thinking, bad fruit from bad seeds of thought, entrenched beliefs that don’t align with the spirit of God, will appear when we are put through the fire of sanctification. The dross, or the waste, is being brought to the surface in us. When that happens, The Lord can remove the impurities or the foreign matter in us and begin to shape and mold us as a pure metal. When this happens, and it happens often, we are being prepared and readied to be shaped into a useful vessel.
What are some areas where you are being refined in the fire? Which areas feel like there is pressure or that you are being stretched and molded in order to let the impurities rise to the surface? Write these areas down and remember what you have prayed for. Have you prayed for patience and now you find you are being tested in that exact area? Have you prayed for increased faith and your circumstance seems even more impossible?
• Write down the areas where you are being refined in the fire
• Write down God’s promises that directly relate to your circumstance
• Read about Daniel and all of the ways he was tested
• Pray for Holy Spirit to help you through the process
Father, thank you for your son, Jesus. Thank you that he was tested, and he succeeded in accomplishing all that you set out for him to do. That he died for me and rose again so that I could have life and freedom. Thank you that I get to walk this with you. Forgive me for the times I was frustrated with the process. I pray that as I am being refined in the fire, that you would help me identify those areas and the dross that you are removing from my life. Help me to let go of that which is not serving your divine purpose. Give me the strength to continue on through this season and become all that you have called me to be. Help me to have wisdom and discernment to know when I am being purified and how to trust you in that process. Thank you for helping me to become a vessel for your truth. In Jesus name. Amen.
Proverbs 23: 17 – 18
Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Observation: There will always be opportunity for me to envy others. But, instead, I can choose to be excited and focused on the Lord. In the Lord there is hope and that hope is secure.
Application: When I feel envy creeping in my soul, I need to remind my heart that secure hope is not in money, people, or things. I need to remind my heart that my secure hope, my future, and my life is in Jesus. I need to be reading the Word daily so that I’m always constantly reminded of what Jesus says and of where true hope lies.
Prayer: Jesus, you are my hope. You are my future. Remind my soul that everything I need is in you.
This is Shanelle. She was born and raised in California. Shanelle moved to NYC 9 years ago. She loves the city, the craziness, and the people.
The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!”
Proverbs 22:13 NIV
When I first read this I thought, “Yes, sluggard! Protect yourself from that lion!” But on re-reading I’m sure that’s not the intent of the verse. What struck me here was the link between fear and laziness. It’s not that the experience of fear means that someone is lazy. As I understand this verse, the meaning here is that this lazy person finds excuse for his laziness by using fear as a justification.
My prayer is that I stay motivated in times when it’s easiest to be lazy, that I will not confuse my laziness with fear, and that I will not allow fear to paralyze me into inaction.
Quenesha is a native New Yorker living, working, dreaming in the Big Apple. She’s passionate about educational equality and finding the light in people who may have a hard time finding it in themselves.