Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Heart: Humility

"With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love..." (Ephesians 4:2a, NASB).

Do you know a story of someone showing humility?

By looking at the verse above, humility looks at another person in love. This sort of humility loves the Lord, because God is love and love comes from Him. Humility comes from the Holy Spirit working in us and through us. Out of this love and God's blessing, a person can look at someone else and remember that God has this unstoppable love for His creation.

In humility, we can:
  • Remember and have faith in God's promises, knowing He has a plan for our lives
  • Look at others with humility, realizing we are in as much need for God as they are
  • Pray to live the humility that Christ displayed on earth for us, as He served God and reached out to others

Lord, thank You for giving us life. We need You, God - Your mercy, wisdom, direction and strength. Help us live with humility and point others to You. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New Heart: Kindness

"Giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love" (2 Corinthians 6:3, 6, New American Standard Bible). 

In college, I remember walking one day across campus with earbuds on, listening to music while pacing to my next class. A cyclist approached, and it ended up being an old friend who stopped just to say hi. We took a moment to catch up on a few things. I admire the way this friend makes a habit of being unusually kind, even on a busy day.

How have you seen kindness this week?

Kindness can be seen in many ways. It may not stand out, but it can make a difference. As we make efforts to be kind to others, we can remember how God shows us kindness. for example, if we help someone with their bags or with a move, we share how Christ help us with large loads, pressure, and changes in life. When we take time to listen and to show concern, we how how God listens when we pray.

As believers saved by grace, we see what true kindness looks like in our relationship with Him. He is the way we are able to show others kindness. He hears our prayers, is present through our struggles and joys, and is there to help us through any time of joy or struggle, celebration or challenge. It is how He won us to Him, by showing us kindness by Christ's sacrifice.

Even today, how has God shown you kindness? How can you show it to someone else today?

Lord, thanks for showing us kindness. Help us show the impact this makes on us. We're not perfect, but work in us to help us to be kind to others today so others can see more of You and Your influence. Amen.

Hear the song, "Kindness" by Christ Tomlin at here.
Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo from

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Heart: Compassion

"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36, New American Standard Bible).

As an old saying goes, cream rises to the top. I love this, because it means that baristas can create unique designs known as "latte art." These days, there are even competitions on latte art designs and talents.

One characteristic that rises to the top about God, to me, is compassion. In Matthew, chapters 5-9, we can read how Jesus was teaching, preaching and healing. In 9:36, the verse above, Jesus explains that He is the Good Shepherd who is concerned about the livelihood of His sheep. He is referenced as the "Lord GOD," the same way He is mentioned in Ezekiel 34. This Lord GOD is mighty and rules over all, yet He has this stand-out compassion that is more than any I have seen a human have. He sent His Son to die for our sins, as a sacrifice in our place, on the cross. He suffered so we could know Him on an intimate level, so sin wouldn't get in the way with us getting to know God.

This great compassion is seen in how God sees our sins clearly, but He loves us anyway. As His followers, He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit, and He can help us also have compassion. We may see others' sin, but we realize we've sinned as well. Others need God just as much as we do, and God has the power to transform us from the inside out. God has gone above and beyond to reveal His compassion for us over time.

God can work in our hearts and help us show compassion to those around us. Unbelievers may not know what Jesus is like, and believers may forget form time to time. Let us pray that we will show compassion to others, just like our Savior showed us.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A New Heart

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12, New American Standard Bible).

Did you get to see the Golden Globes a week or so ago? I admit that I love watching for the clothes that are new and that show a certain style. Most clothes fit the tone of the star studded, glamorous event.

What life style fits just right for followers of Christ? The books of Colossians and Galatians talk about those things. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, He not only forgives us but also continues working in us. He is able to give us the strength to live out who He first made us to be.

The Spirit helps us have hearts more like Christ, filled with:
  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience

I think I need help in all of those areas. That is completely okay, though - God has grace and is still working in me. Let's pray He continues to work in our hearts in the ways this verse described, now that we have been made new in Christ and have the Holy Spirit as our guide.

Lord, thanks for Your forgiveness and taking the old ways out of us. Grow us in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Help us overflow with Your Spirit to others around us. Amen.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB). 

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo from

Friday, January 18, 2013

Throwing out the old: Prejudice

"A renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11, New American Standard Bible).

The thing that I love most about spring is the new life that comes, even as you view a tree with lush leaves and flowers. The trees that once looked lifeless can come alive with the warmth that comes with the change of the season. God offers a similar renewal within us, when we believe in Him and turn to trust in His lead. He offers us this transformation that is breathtaking, as the old parts of us are shed and new life is given to us through Him and His work in us.

Prejudice can come in many forms, and in the verse above, we read it's not from God. Left unchecked, it can have destructive consequences in our community. It can tear at the perception of the value of the very marrow of a person.

What does the problem with prejudice mean for followers of Christ?

  • God made people, and Genesis tells us "it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). God loves all people, regardless of their race, class, history, or personality. He sent Christ to die for our sins that come between our relationship with Him (1 Peter 3:18).
  • During Jesus' time on earth, He showed us how to think beyond typical prejudices, as He reached out to and spent time with people from different cultures and backgrounds (Mark 2:13-17). He sacrificed His life for us and asked believers to tell the world about Him (Acts 1:8). He showed us God's love for us and for the world. 
  • The Holy Spirit was given when Christ left the earth. The Spirit is God's presence that is with believers, and can help us remove our old ways, like our prejudices. We seek to live this life that follows Christ because He "is all, and in all" - He is our everything, our joy and our saving grace (Ephesians 1:22-23). 

God can help us see others from His perspective. In Christ, we have the opportunity to show how God's love looks past some things the world tends to focus on. Let us pray our minds, hearts, and actions reflect God's kind of love.

Lord, thanks for looking at all of us, right where we are, and loving us. Reveal to us any prejudices we may have hidden inside, forgive us for those and remove them from our minds. Help us see others through Your eyes. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo from

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Throwing out the old: Lies

"Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices" (Colossians 3:9, New American Standard Bible).

Have you seen the movie Catch Me If You Can? The main character is based on a real person who once made a profession of being a skilled liar, basically by stealing identities and forging checks. He now assists the government in fraud protection. The movie itself is a look into how lies can be taken to an extreme, and how someone can feel trapped in a lifestyle of lies.

It is crazy how lying can become second nature for us, even in subtle ways. In contrast, God is full of truth and goodness. As His disciples and family, He wants us to reflect that part of Him, His truthfulness.

Some major truths God has given us include:

Truth has this great, freeing value, and living a life of truth can testify to others more of who God is. It seems so simple, to speak truth, but we need God's power and His help. Let's pray for help to continually be a people of truth.

Lord, thank You for Your truthfulness. We ask that You remove any desire in us to lie. Help us show others Your truth. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo found on

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Throwing out the old: Filthy language

"And there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:4, New American Standard Bible).

Have you heard the story of Erin Brockovich-Ellis? While she was working as a law clerk, she discovered an entire community had been drinking dangerously contaminated water. This courageous woman, along with the law firm she worked with, helped the community stand up for their rights for pure water, which, you know, assists in healthy growth and development.

[Photo by Fernando Fidalgo]

Words that break others' honor and that show disrespect are muddied and contaminated in a way similar to the water that Erin discovered. Do words we find ourselves using words that cause good health? Sometimes, it can be much easier to reflect our feelings in the moment, and that can be muddied without God's help in the mix.

As believers and followers of Christ, we are a part of His family. He wants to work in us through the Holy Spirit, helping us give thanks with our words instead of words that are muddied and can dishonor His creation.  Let our words praise Him, no matter the situation, because He is God and has redeemed us into living life near to Him. Let us pray our witness to the world, of who God is, be clear in our words.

Lord, do a great work in us. Let our speech show our thankfulness to You, as well as our love and respect for others. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo from Fidalgo's site,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Throwing out the old: Malice and slander

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29, New American Standard Bible).

On the past season of the television show, So You Think You Can Dance, I admired how the judges gave constructive criticism with grace to a young contemporary dancer. They not only helped her see certain areas to work on, but also they expressed where she had admirable talent and skill. She went on to be one of the top four finalists.

The thing I appreciate about the verse above is that we see there is an alternative to malice and slander. God has shown us an overwhelming amount of grace, especially through Jesus. Are the things we say about others truthful and full of grace?

Let us pray to have grace with others, whether they are in the same room with us or not. This may be a challenge at times, since this is something we know only God can do perfectly. The reason we can love, though, is because God first loved us and showed us what His love looks like. Let's ask God to help us live without malice and slander.

Lord, thanks for showing us Your stunning grace. Help us speak to and about others with grace. Give us speech that oozes with more of Your influence. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo from

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Throwing out the old: Anger and rage

"This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger" (James 1:19, New American Standard Bible).

Almost everyone I know seems to have a "button" or two, something that has potential to make them upset. Sometimes, anger simmers. Other times, it can boil over into rage and tear at things or people around us, even ourselves.

God shows us an alternative. Psalm 145:8 reads, "The LORD is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness" (NASB). He asks us to be quick to listen, and yet slow to speak and slow to anger.  We aren't perfect, but the way we can live it out is by looking at Jesus' life and by the Holy Spirit's power working in us.

Whether anger and rage are common or rare within us, we can remember that God is Immanuel, God with us. As we are tempted to act in anger, let's ask God to make it simmer before we move on with the day. He is in control. As we set our trust in Him, He will lead us through whatever is going on.

Lord, help us listen to others and to be slow to speak and slow to anger. Protect us from anger boiling over and its results. We ask that You give us hearts that can respond with the grace and mercy You've shown us. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Image from

Saturday, January 5, 2013

You Also Once Walked

"And in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth" (Colossians 3:7-8, New American Standard Bible).

As breezes come with more of a chill and scarves begin to be more of a necessity, I usually enjoy winter, even though it comes late in Houston. When I sifted through storage to find warmer clothes for winter, I realized that some things simply did not fit or were worn out. What things are in our hearts or lives that, on second look, don't really reflect who God is or how God created us to be?

In the verse above, Paul encouraged believers to put some things aside, such as anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech. They were a part of our old life, when we were apart from Christ. With Christ, He is able to give us the strength to walk away from those things, because they aren't from Him. Are there some things like that in your life that would be better thrown out?

As for God, our greatest trust is in Him and His ways. Let's allow Him to work through us and reach out to those who don't know Him yet. It can be a healthy exercise to take off things that come between our relationship between us and God, as well as those things that come between our relationship with others. Let's pray that our hearts and actions show a great witness to what God can do in a life.

God, thanks for Your forgiveness. Help us take off things that don't add up to honoring You. Help us learn more about You and reflect more of who You are. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo from

Thursday, January 3, 2013


"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amonuts to idolatry" (Colossians 3:5, New American Standard Bible).

CoCo Chanel was quoted to have said, "Elegance is refusal." Do you agree that sometimes, less is more? With an outfit, sometimes one piece of jewelry or one t-shirt can be better shown with a black dress or plain slacks. Sometimes, less in other areas can bring the distinct to light.

Are there some things in us (not necessarily in fashion) that, if they were not present, would show off who God is more? Some things in our hearts or some actions in our lives may not best reflect our Savior King, and in the case of this verse, some things lead to idolatry. The stunning thing about God is that He forgives us when we ask for it with a genuine, repentant heart.

There is an internal struggle that fights between flesh and spirit (see Romans 8:13). Through Jesus, our sins can be forgiven (Colossians 2:11), because of God's selfless love. Believers are forgiven and forever a part of God's family, yet God still works in us to bring us to an even closer relationship with Him. He works inside of us by the Holy Spirit's power, to put to death the sin within us and to fill us with Him.

Are there some recurring thoughts or habits in our lives, ones that dull or derail us from bringing honor to Christ? Let us pray that God reveals these things to us. We can pray He gives us the courage to remove those things from our lives. Let us bring glory to God in the process.

"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk with the Spirit."
-Galatians 5:24-25 (NASB)

Lord, thank You for redeeming us. Remove sin in our lives that competes with us putting You first. Let us be a people who show who You are with all that's within us. Amen.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Below is a devotion written by Charles Spurgeon. Please excuse the Old English language. Just thought it was an insightful devotion for this time of year.

"'Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.' -1 Samuel 7:12

"The word 'hitherto' seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, 'hitherto the Lord hath helped!' Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, 'hitherto hath the Lord helped us!'

"We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received 'hitherto.'

"But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes 'hitherto,' he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! There is more yet - awakening in Jesus' likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy 'Ebenezer,' for - 
'He who hath helped thee hitherto
Will help thee all thy journey through.'

"When read in heaven's light how glorious and marvellous a prospect will thy 'hitherto' unfold to thy grateful eye!"

Excerpt from Charles Spurgeon from Morning and Evening, Complete and Unabridged, KJV Edition. Published by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. in Peabody, Massachusetts in April 2010.

Photo by Nick Meers found with a BBC News article (