From the Desks of Steve Shultz and Julie A. Smith:
This recent word from Kathi Pelton is a must-read, heart-filled word for this hour.
The condition of our hearts is vitally important to our well-being and how we connect, speak and minister to others. It's good to give ourselves a "heart check" as Kathi Pelton shares here:
We must first check our hearts before we bring our words. We can ask ourselves (and Holy Spirit), "Is there any motive of selfish gain in what I'm about to say? Am I partially speaking out if offense or anger, even if what I'm bringing is truth? Can I truly offer my heart and do I desire to receive their heart?"
As you read the rest of this word, we pray that you let the Lord do a heart check-up...bringing healing and restoration to you, so He can do the same through you! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Steve Shultz and Julie A. Smith, Co-Editors
Elijah List Publications
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Steve Shultz, Founder and Publisher
The Elijah List & Breaking Christian News
I have been in ministry for about 35 years and been a parent for about the same amount of time. There is one thing that I have learned through all these years: Often, when we think that we are merely dealing with a person who has a negative attitude, or offensive actions, what we are actually dealing with is a wounded heart.
Ministry and parenting aren't much different because both need to be done from a pure heart and from a place of knowing God's love for someone else, allowing His love to become our love.
I have also discovered the truth behind Proverbs 15:1 (NIV), "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." I rarely receive a reaction of defense or anger when I bring what I am sharing in gentleness, respect and compassion. If we offer our hearts, we will usually receive a heart response in return.
Checking Our Hearts
I would love to say that I have consistently seen this demonstrated in the Church or in the homes of Believers, but I have too often seen harsh words spoken, or even ulterior motives brought forth in ministry meetings, and even in parenting.
We must first check our hearts before we bring our words. We can ask ourselves (and Holy Spirit), "Is there any motive of selfish gain in what I'm about to say? Am I partially speaking out if offense or anger, even if what I'm bringing is truth? Can I truly offer my heart and do I desire to receive their heart?" (Photo via Unsplash)
I have not done this perfectly in ministry or parenting—especially in my early years, when I was really learning patience, endurance, self-control and how to love. During that time, I often received a reaction rather than a response. Why? Because I did not bring an offering of my heart, nor did I offer to see their heart; I merely brought a harsh word or correction based on right or wrong, but void of love (or I had selfish motives behind it). There is nothing wrong with bringing the truth, and we must offer truth; but even truth without love is just noise to the one receiving it.
"If I were to speak with eloquence in Earth's many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn't express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God's hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TPT)
Jesus offered His heart to those who walked with Him—even to Judas. Yes, He spoke directly. He even spoke in way a that might sound harsh when addressing the Pharisees, but it was because they were bringing laws, arrogance and traditions that harshly attacked the love and grace He was offering. They weren't offering their hearts; their motives were not pure and not love. He was exposing their hearts in order to bring correction; but even then, it was not void of love.
Offering Our Hearts in Love
As we bring our hearts and bring love to those who are before us, not everyone will respond, but many will. We must learn from Proverbs 15:1 by turning away wrath rather than stirring up anger. People are perceptive, and most know, pretty quickly, if you've come with your heart or have come with an agenda to accomplish something that you desire more than to see the best for them.
If we go to a brother or a sister in Christ regarding a heart matter or a life matter, let's go with love and offer our hearts—and offer to carry theirs. May our words and our hearts be washed in His love and purified from ulterior motives. (Photo via Flickr)
Lastly, whether we are with our children or with one of His children, let us do all that we do in love!
"Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one's achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TPT)
God's love has never given up on us, nor has any word He's ever spoken, even in discipline, been void of absolute agape love.
Let's Pray: God, make us like You and purify our hearts from every way that lacks love. We offer You our hearts. Purify us from selfish ways, offensive ways, harsh ways and from hidden agendas. We offer our hearts to You so that we can offer our hearts to others, bringing forth healing, restoration and unity. Make us like You, Jesus.
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Jeffrey and Kathi Pelton¬†live in Portland, Oregon. Jeffrey is a writer, teacher and book editor. Kathi is an author and prophetic voice to the Church. They walk with nations and individuals to see God's original intent fulfilled. Their ministry, Inscribe Ministries, was founded upon the verse from Habakkuk 2:2 that says,¬†"Then the LORD answered me and said: 'Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.'"
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