Heart Matters Blog

Journey along with the Heart Matters Gals

Who are you listening to?

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Therefore I urge you to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1st Corinthians 4:16 We have a new neighbor. Just moved into the little nest in our forsythia bush. She's a cat bird. Cat birds have the most delightful song. I recently discovered that they are related to mockingbirds. And that makes sense, since their vocal abilities allow them to copy the songs of other species. When they string all those lilts and tweets together they end up creating a song all their own. Sometimes I've even heard it mimicking crickets or croaking toads. Every now and then it throws its trademark "meow" into its song to remind us who that song really belongs to. As I've been out writing on my deck, serenaded by my new neighbor, it got me thinking. What voices have I been listening to? How have I been pa...
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A Blessed Memorial Day to you!

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May we all appreciate the freedom that this day represents.  The Heart Matters gals, Heidi, LuAnn and Julie   
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Paradise

Paradise
Like a drink of water after a marathon. Your own bed after weeks away. A hug from your son or daughter returning home. Protein after a workout. A hot shower after catapulting off your paddle board into deep muck (not that I know this personally) . That's how the sun's rays felt last Sunday after months of Minnesota chill. As I lay sprawled on the back deck of our red, black and white Malibu, the sun's rays gave valiant effort to change my white Scandinavian freckled skin to a reddish brown. As the boat gently bobbed up and down like the local loons in the middle of the lake, my son read his novel and my husband polished water stains to oblivion. The birds were singing like they were competing in an American Idol contest as the water gently lapped onto the sandy, rocky shores. "I'...
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Regret

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"Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress…" Hebrews 12:1 My preschooler was in a mood, and it was as if nothing was going his way and everything made it worse. To add fuel to the fire, we were out for a family walk, he was running ahead of us, and as my son got close to where the sidewalk ends, my husband shouted, "Oscar! Wait for us, buddy!" But he didn't wait. He kept running. My husband's voice grew louder, and I joined him in a chorus of, "Stop! Wait right now!" But it wasn't until my Olympic runner of a husband chased him down that Oscar stopped. There was a stern tone of voice and serious faces exchanged, but my son got the message loud and clear—"Cars are dangerous. You have to listen. When we say stop, you stop, and yo...
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The Fragrance of Forgiveness

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Has there ever been a time in your life when a certain scent wafts past you and it stops you in your tracks? Like catching a whiff of the perfume your aunt used to wear or the aftershave that your grandpa once wore. Fragrance's that you haven't smelled since childhood. Aroma's from bygone years. Yet, when you catch that scent it takes you back in time, bringing a smile to your face and tears to your eyes. Scent is a powerful memory-maker. Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. —Diane Ackerman That is one of the reasons I planted Monarda, also known as Bee Balm, in my garden. Yes. It draws butterflies, which I love , but, Bee Balm also grows wild along the creeks and littl...
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Choose Him

Choose Him
This beautiful blog is written by LuAnn's daughter, McKayla. She's wise beyond her age.  Choose him. To abide, pursue, and invite Jesus into your life is a choice we have every day. Similar to exercising and eating healthy, the decision to include Jesus in your daily life does not often have immediate transformation. Over time, the daily decisions of healthy nourishment and working out will begin to manifest physically. This is true with positioning spiritually also. Positioning is dire to the transformation to your heart and mind and to everything he wants to do through you. Renewing of your mind and the outflow condition of your heart comes with the small moments and decisions to pursue him in the day-to-day mundane. What if more days than not you were eating healthy and exercising?...
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Beauty from Ashes

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This beautiful blog is written by our sweet friend Hannah Fordice. Read on be blessed dear readers. His hands are full of scratches and sawdust; they move smoothly down the planks, leaving a trail of deep, rich stain. You would never know that just a few months ago that same wood was stained in black ash and blood. When the house burned, it burned fast and hard. So fast in fact, that there was nothing they could do - how many times I heard that phrase - nothing they could do, nothing they could do, nothing they could do , until my ears rang with the sick sound of it. Nothing. No home. No dad. Nothing. As a lifetime went up in smoke, a crane had to move the largest, still burning logs to try and find his body in the coals. And those top logs - they are all that survived. And it wasn't a pre...
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Let's Hold Hands

Let's Hold Hands
Have you ever heard any of the following?​ All that church cares about is numbers. That's more important to them than obeying Christ. That church is so small because it is not relevant. I connect with God more in a small traditional setting; I don't see how you can attend a big contemporary church. People that attend that small church are an uppity click. The music at that church is outdated. The music at that church sounds too much like the world. Old hymns have such rich meaning and depth; contemporary songs are so repetitive and meaningless. I don't even understand what the hymns are saying. Who would want to go somewhere where they sing those? Spiritual gifts like tongues and prophecy aren't relevant for today. Satan is just using that to take them off-track. If you don't speak in tong...
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God's Goodness Runs Like Clockwork

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"Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6 What runs like clockwork in your life? Is it your morning routine? The sun rises, you wash your face, brush your teeth, and eat scrambled eggs, and then off to work you go. Is it your kids' schedule? They need their lunch by noon, nap time naturally follows, and Daniel Tiger is the only way to get through that afternoon slump. Or maybe the only thing consistent in your life these days is trash day, and when Tuesday rolls around, you roll out your can to the end of your drive, and as you come in from work, you bring it right back up. As Christ-followers, there's more regularity to our day than we may know or even imagine. Whether it's been a bright or dark da...
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A Place to Belong

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  A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.  —Brené Brown My hubby and I first noticed it as we walked from the car park toward Disney's Magic Kingdom. In this sea of humanity lining up to enter through its gates. Male. Female. Young. Old. All walks of life. All cultures. All sides of the political spectrum. There we were. All dressed in Disney tee's. Many wearing Minnie or Mickey ears. Most wearing smiles from ear-to-ear. What draws folks from around the country and the world to Disney's doors? No doubt the rides are a big draw. And all the Disney characters. Then there's Cinderella's Palace. And the fun of climbing up the Swiss Family Robinson ...
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Soul Work

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Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. —Psalm 51:10 Soul work is not a high road. It's a deep fall into an unforgiving darkness that won't let you go until you find the song that sings you home. —McCall Erickson Now that the snow pack is melting back a bit, I've been noticing on my daily walks with my dog that the street drains are clogged with the debris of leaves and pine needles from last fall. If we get a good hard rain, those obstructed drains won't be able to handle all the incoming water. That means it could back up onto the streets and make a real mess of things. Thankfully, the street sweeper will soon be making his way through our neighborhood, freeing those drains from all the rubbish that has accumulated there. I wish tha...
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Loving Pursuer

Loving Pursuer
Taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalm 34:8a He has also set eternity in the human heart. —Ecclesiastes 3:11b I'm not sure why I was so shocked by what she was telling me. I shouldn't have been. I've been a Christ follower long enough. I've heard countless stories. But for some reason, how good God is and how uniquely he works to bring about transformation in each of his children, how much he loves and pursues each one of us, always rocks me. Rewind back to this summer. I had received a phone call from a beautiful young lady who is friends with my daughter. She wanted to talk. I prayed before she arrived, as I sensed God wanted to speak to her through me. As she sat on our porch swing that balmy summer day she relayed to me how disappointed she was in the direction her life was g...
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Heavenly Lessons from My 3-Year-Old

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My son talks a LOT about heaven these days. His bedtime prayers sound like, "Dear God, can we go to heaven this weekend?" and our conversations in the van include, "Mom, heaven is so high! How will I ever get there?" I'm soaking it all up. I'm taking in the wide-eyed wonder, amazed at the scope of his persistent questions, and replying the best I know how: "We might get to go to heaven today if Jesus is ready! He's preparing a place for us, like Daddy prepares your room and gets your bed made, and He'll come get us when it's all set and done." Or "It is so high! We can't get there on our own! But Jesus will help us. He's the only way we can get there." And with all of these heavenly thoughts and kingdom-minded questions fired at me from my 3-year-old, a line from the Lord's prayer comes to...
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An Ending...A New Beginning

An Ending...A New Beginning
We are sad to announce that our dear friend and co-writer of many Heart Matters Publishing devotionals, Jo Bender, is stepping down. We are enormously grateful for the years she has blessed our hearts with her words of challenge, encouragement and comfort. But, we are also excited for whatever God opens up to her in the future!  We'd like to bless her new beginning with a beautiful poem by John O'Donohue. In out-of-the-way places of the heart, where your thoughts never think to wander, this beginning has been quietly forming, waiting until you were ready to emerge. For a long time it has watched your desire, feeling the emptiness growing inside you, noticing how you will yourself on, still unable to leave what you had outgrown. Then the delight, when your courage kindled, and out you ...
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Go ahead, call me FAT

Go ahead, call me FAT
This past week we mourned the death of one of the greatest evangelists our world has ever known. At the age of 99, Billy Graham went home to the heaven he so passionately introduced to millions of people throughout the world. Countless news outlets, social media outlets, churches and ministries posted the message: He is Home! What a glorious day for Billy Graham, for in his earthly death, he met Jesus face to face. Praise God for His promise of eternal life. Billy Graham is now living that reality. Billy Graham's family gave touching tributes to his memory and also delivered powerful Gospel presentations. One that really caught my attention was a statement from Nelson Graham, Billy's son. In his tribute to his father, Nelson claimed that Billy Graham was FAT. After getting o...
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The Burdens We Bear - The Bentover Woman

The Burdens We Bear - The Bentover Woman
She wears it so beautifully doesn't she, her pain… Always smiling, always positive…. always happy to help… It's like a garment perfectly tailored to fit the way she carries it… with a touch of grace… and the quietness of that sad smile…. All so you'd never know how heavy it really was. —Ranata Suziki None knows the weight of another's burden. —George Herbert We all carry burdens of some sort. Something pressing on our hearts. For some it may be guilt or shame that weighs heavy. Others of us feel bent over with grief. Some of us carry pain, loneliness, resentment or anger around with us every day. And then, there are those of us who struggle with addiction. Be it alcohol, drugs, overspending, or overeating. That is your burden. And you long so to be free of it. I'd like to share one of my v...
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The Value of a Woman - Mary Magdalene

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Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomband saw two angels in white,seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

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When Life Feels Monotonous and the Future Questionable - Ruth

When Life Feels Monotonous and the Future Questionable - Ruth

 God has not called me to be successful, He called me to be faithful.—Mother Teresa

If anybody understands, it would be Ruth. When her husband died, instead of returning home and starting again, she chose the harder path of traveling and taking care of her mother-in-law.

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Women of the Bible: Divine Appointment - Esther

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It was raining outside, the day I stared out the window of my mentor’s office, hoping our visit would help me determine my next steps. I had witnessed a horrible wrong, done not only to me, but to others like me. Many were suffering, and many more would suffer as news of this wrong spread. I wanted compassion. I wanted a shoulder to cry on. I wanted someone to listen and agree with my reasons for hurt, anger, and fear.

But I did not get my wish. Instead, I received a challenge to take that fear that kept me wrapped in a ball on her couch and toss it aside. “You have access,” she said. “You have a voice that others do not have,” she reasoned. “What if you are the one God has given this experience to so that you will stand up and speak? What if you’ve been placed in your position, in your situation, for such a time as this?”

I had heard those words before. “For such a time as this,” were words echoed to Queen Esther thousands of years ago when her uncle, Mordecai, let her in on a terrible secret—that all of the Jews of Susa were going to be rounded up and killed. That included her uncle, her friends from the village, and her—if anyone ever found out that she was not Persian, like she said she was, but was indeed a Jew.

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The View Outside My Window

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I've invited my cousin's daughter, Amber Krueger, to once again grace our pages. Her thoughts are probably what all of us are thinking this winter...

 

Despite the forecast. Live like it is spring.—Lilly Pulitzer

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The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

Only God could say what this new spirit forming in you will be… accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose Wisely.—Karen Kaiser Clark 

When the winds of change blow in it can be unsettling. Scary, even.

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Our devotional's are available on Kindle!

Our devotional's are available on Kindle!

We're really excited to let you know that our books are available on Kindle.

Find them on amazon.com or click images below.

 

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The Influence of Others

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.—Matthew 6:33

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are beingtransformedinto his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.—2 Corinthians 3:18

We have this cute young lady who has been living with us for several months. My husband has dubbed her the Energizer Bunny. So it isn’t surprising that in her dialogues and answers she often uses an enthusiastic, snappy, staccato, “yep!”

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What Will Mark Your New Year?

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It’s growing more and more popular with the new year to choose a singular word to set the course over the next 12 months vs. making resolutions. 

I’ve done it myself—one year was “risk-taker”, another was “be”—and it’s a good, focused strategy that can really jumpstart people to become their better, created selves. Those years, I chose to bravely say yes to opportunities I may have otherwise passed up, and I was reminded to live in the moment instead of distracted by the buzz of my phone or the demands of tomorrow. 

But last Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a Giving Key necklace with the word “believe” stamped on the gold vintage key, and I haven’t picked a word since. It seems this simple accessory has pointed out more than once that it’s time to believe in God’s promises, actually live like His power and grace is real, and rest in His presence when circumstances and evil pull me away. 

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New Years Reservations

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We're kicking off the New Year with our sweet friend, Hannah Sorvik Fordice, who has a blog of her own called Rubble and Rescue. If you've had a tough 2017, you too may be wondering how 2018 will unfold. Praying her words will minister to your soul...

Last New Years Eve, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table next to an unopened bottle of champagne I had planned to bring to a friend's house; in my hands was a pregnancy test with two pink lines in the viewing window. 

At the time, my husband was in a work rotation that included night shifts, so even though it was 3pm he was sound asleep in our bedroom. I gently shook him awake (Im fairly sure my hands were shaking so hard, I probably only had to touch his arm for the effect), and said, "good morning hun, guess what?" and handed him the test. 

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And I thought my 2017 was a rough year. May God bless you richly in 2018. Take good care of you!
Friday, 05 January 2018 05:10
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Julie has been inspiring children, youth, and women as a speaker, teacher, silent retreat leader, author and mentor for over 30 years. She was the Director of Women's Bible Studies at Eagle Brook Church, is a certified Spiritual Director and the owner of Heart Matters Publishing Company. She is an alumnus of Bethel University and Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. As an author she has written Bible Study Curriculum and Devotionals, including her latest collaboration, Whispers of God's Grace. Julie draws on her wide range of life experiences, humor and love of God's Word and His creation for her writing. When she is not writing, you will find her absorbed in a good book, puttering in her garden or dreaming of France. Julie and her husband, Rey, live in White Bear Lake, MN and are the parents of two grown sons, Erik and Kyle.

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