Guard Your Heart

garden4

(c) April Kelsey

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. ~ Matthew 24:3-13

Guard your heart. I’ve often heard this phrase in the context of dating: “Don’t get emotionally entangled. Your heart belongs to God and it’s possible to give it away.” But I don’t think guarding one’s heart has anything to do with dating. It’s far more important than that.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Speaking the Truth in Love

You heard Him, folks.

I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts in the past month addressing the topic of whether Christians should be “nice.” After all, there is no command in the Bible to be nice to anyone. And Jesus certainly wasn’t nice when he called the Pharisees hypocrites or flipped the tables in the temple. Sometimes, the truth can come out sounding just plain mean.

But apparently nowadays, we’re being plagued by a host of “nice” Christians. They’re “soft on sin.” They don’t want to “offend anybody.” As a result, people aren’t hearing the gospel and are destroying our clean, civilized society with all their depraved behaviors. (Those deluded hell-bound sinners!)

Of course, we shouldn’t just run out into the street and start screaming at people. We have to be careful to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Many people have spread much ink with those words. However, they never actually explain what it means to speak the truth in love. What should that look like? Sound like? Maybe I can shed some light on the matter. Continue reading

The Rod of Comfort: Parenting with Gentleness

My little bugger.

My little bugger.

Three and a half years ago, I became a parent. I remember it vividly. It was like being thrown into the Arctic Circle without a parka. I had no idea what I was doing. I went to the hospital to give birth, and, afterward, a nurse handed me a baby and said, “Here you go.” I said, “Where’s the instruction manual for this thing??” Continue reading

Tending the Vineyard

010

Look! My garden phlox is sprouting!

Last fall, I finally got around to weeding the flowerbeds in front of my house after two years of neglect. Boy, what a job! The beds were almost completely overgrown. I had to use a shovel to dislodge the weeds from the soil. After hours of backbreaking work, I finally had everything neat and cleared again. My neighbors were very impressed.

The beds looked great all through the winter. Then at the first hint of spring, the weeds came back all at once–almost worse than before! Silly me didn’t mulch the beds. I had cleared all of the weeds, but hadn’t taken any preventative measures to keep them from coming back. So last week, I was right back at it: breaking up weeds with the shovel and wearing holes in the knees of my pants. You can bet I mulched this time…and took some other measures as well. Continue reading