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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? W...
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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 pret...
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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 People that attend that small church are an uppity click.The music at that church is outdated.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 tongues...
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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 tr...
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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 tomb and 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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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 being transformed into 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 (I'm 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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Guest — Gaye Lindfors
Beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing them.
Monday, 01 January 2018 14:51
Guest — Julie Miller
We feel incredibly blessed that Hannah gifts us with her words periodically! ❤️
Monday, 01 January 2018 17:21
EasyBlog Support
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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Faithful

Faithful

We pray that you had a blessed Christmas our dear readers. And as we ring in a New Year,

that you remember this...

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In the Deepening Silence

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As the days countdown to Christ's birth, we Heart Matters gals thought that the best gift we could give you is some time set apart with Jesus. This quiet time experience Julie Miller has written is really the gift that Ignatius of Loyola left for us as one of his many legacies. Ignatius loved God's Word and approached it uniquely. Rather than read the word to fill in blanks on a page, he stepped into it as if he were living the stories out.

 So, in the words of Frederick Buechner...

 

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Attire of the Heart

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A Christmas Quiet Time Devotional

Considering all the time we will be spending with friends and family during the holiday season, we believe it would be beneficial to spend some quiet time with Jesus preparing our hearts for the holidays.

Sitting quietly meditating on this passage of Scripture will surely set our hearts aright.

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Something Worth Celebrating This Christmas

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Amidst the twinkling lights, stocking stuffers, and your best-dressed outfits, it’s easy to forget why we actually celebrate Christmas. You get caught up in the giggle of your grandson, your stomach’s grumbling over that glazed ham, and it’s your responsibility to entertain the in-laws this year. The festivities are alive, and it’s no wonder the moments can all race together in one big blur!

Or you’re on the W-A-Y other end of the spectrum. You feel lost this season. That job you’ve been pining for? Given to someone else. That investment supposedly paving the way for an early retirement? Down the drain. Your boyfriend you envisioned your future with? No ring or explanation, gone. The minutes and traditions drag on, and nothing really seems worth celebrating this time around.

But no matter how far we’ve wandered or how lost we may feel, no matter how perfectly our ribbons are curled or our bows are placed, there’s a hope, so boundless and crazy, offered to every one of us. And it’s found in the meaning of Christmas. Relevant to the hipsters, the nonconformists, and everyone in between, it’s a story that beckons with a plot that revives and replenishes.

Jesus, the God of gushing love, came to this earth because we were wandering. We were lost. We were sinking in our defeat, error, and purposelessness. He saw our slumped shoulders and our worn out spirits. He heard our sighing and our groaning as we laid in our beds, the puddles of tears staining our pillows, waiting for some form of relief, some sort of hope, some sort of purpose.

And He came.


Jesus was born into this world to start a new thing, to make a way for the wanderers, to bind up the brokenhearted, to set the captives free. Sequentially, Jesus’ birth isn’t just a religious holiday or a historical event that stood the test of time. But His birth turned our days of mourning into a lifetime and eternity of festive praise. And Christmas, Jesus’ date of birth, got the whole ball rolling. Pure and simple. That’s it. That’s all. That’s everything.

This is why the wise men traveled on camel back and followed a star for miles and miles to see. This is the reason a Fisher Price manger scene can be revolutionary and hard selling. This is the glory of Linus reciting Luke 2 in the Charlie Brown Christmas. This Jesus and his uprising is the magic of Christmas, and it deserves to be shared, spread, cheered.

So as you look around your dinner table today, take time to pause over the holly centerpiece and the clanging forks. Your aunt is feeling lonely without her spouse for the first time this year. Your mom is trying hard not to worry about the stack of bills hiding in the kitchen cabinets. And your daughter can’t get over the fact that she has one less present than her brother. As you pause, look each person in the eye. Remind them that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, angels or demons, fears for today or worries about tomorrow, the power in the sky above or in the earth below can keep us from experiencing God’s love around this table.

And that’s the hype of Christmas. In all its splendor and majesty, in a few paragraph nutshell, God so loved us that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life. I’d say that’s something worth celebrating this Christmas, wouldn’t you?

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Guest — Julie Miller
She does have a way with words, Richard. Loved that statement...the "God of gushing love" myself! Be blessed this holy season.... Read More
Monday, 04 December 2017 11:09
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Winter Comes For Us All

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Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

Hebrews 12:28

 

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Pamela Promnitz
Fantastic read. Love it. Thank you for sharing this with me. I did not realize how well you put your words to pen.
Friday, 01 December 2017 16:49
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Thanksgiving Thoughts

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Thanksgiving Thoughts to Prepare Your Heart 

...all which we behold
Is full of blessings...
William Wordsworth

What do you behold today? Whom do you behold?

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We Heart Matters Publishing gals care about women. Their joys. Their struggles. Their everyday, ordinary lives. We write from those very same places hoping to uplift, challenge and encourage your soul and deepen your faith.

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 62 this year. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently finishing my degree in relational communications and plan to graduate in the spring of 2020!! I am thankful I have had time to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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