Inspiration for a Heart-Shaped Life
What if you could see the world through the lens of the heart moment by moment?
What if God inspired you to walk “heart first” into every life event and circumstance, no matter what it was?
What if love was your number one priority? Love of God, love of others, and love of yourself?
Inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:2: "If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do?" . . .the Heart-Shaped Life series will encourage you to live life “heart first.”
The Heart-Shaped Life Daily Devotional provides refreshing thoughts, prayers, and scripture selections to help you discover the best path to the good life. . .which is all about LOVE!
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About the Author
Karen Moore has an M.A. in Education and is a writing coach, speaker, and author. Karen has held managing editor and publisher positions at David Cook and Thomas Nelson, as well as American Greetings and Gibson Greetings. She teaches an online course in greeting card writing. She is also a popular speaker at writing conferences around the country and is the author of more than seventy-five gift, devotional, and children’s books. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Read an Excerpt
The Heart-Shaped Life
By Karen Moore
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2017 Karen Moore
All rights reserved.
A Heart-Shaped Spirit
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
John 13:34–35 NLT
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As a new year begins, we all make promises to ourselves — and sometimes even to God — to live better lives. We promise we'll pray more, love more, or give more to those around us. We truly hope to be better people, more aware of what motivates our thoughts and causes us to rejoice in life's goodness.
God always hears those promises and blesses the spirit in which we make them. He knows that right at that moment, we really mean to follow through. He knows we have good intentions as each day dawns to do better than we did the day before. That's why He works so hard to help shape us — body, mind, and spirit.
Perhaps today, you can really step into the world heart-first. Seek more of His Spirit to help you keep those heartfelt promises. Keep aligning yourself with God's direction, asking for a clean heart and a new way to share His love. Ask Him to give you the kind of eyes that focus on all that it means to love wholeheartedly.
You can make a heartfelt difference in someone's life today ... even your own.
A HEART OF JOY
As I open the door to a new day, Lord, strengthen and renew my joy, my love, and my commitment to You. With every beat of my heart, let me seek Your will for my encounters with others. Amen.
In the Spirit of Love
Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1–2 NIV
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It's fun to watch young children as they play. They might pretend to play the guitar like Daddy or like their favorite rock star. They may pretend to bake a cake or work on the computer like Mommy does. Children are great at imitating those closest to them because they want to be like the ones they love. They love to be noticed for being so "grown up."
As we develop a spirit of love and grow more confident in our walk with the Lord, this passage from Ephesians invites us to imitate Jesus. He is someone we want to be close to, someone we love, so we want to please Him in every possible way, and we want to have Him see that we are "growing up" in faith.
As you put on a spirit of love today, see if you can imitate Jesus, be like Him in some special way, or be more like Him in a way that hasn't been easy for you in the past ... more giving, more compassionate, or more patient. Follow Him wherever you go today, and if your heart is in it, He's sure to be pleased.
A HEART-SHAPED PRAYER
Lord, help me to put on childlike faith in You today, imitating Your love for others and creating a spirit of peace within my soul. Bless all I do this day. Amen.
Love Is an Action Word
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 JOHN 3:18 NIV
* * *
How do we understand the word love? What would love in action feel like, taste like, or smell like? How can we know if we are sharing love both in action and in truth?
Look back at yesterday. Think about every interaction you had with your spouse, a coworker, a child, or a neighbor. Run it through your mind on instant replay. Did that interaction create closeness, a sense of well-being, a moment shared that left you both feeling better than you did before? If so, you had a good day where your actions spoke louder than words.
Actions created in love feel good. They lift our spirits and encourage our hearts. If what you did yesterday doesn't bring you peace of mind today, then try again. Create meaningful interactions with the people around you, and let love guide all you do. You can do it because God put His spirit of love within you.
God is love because He sent Jesus to redeem us. You are love when you fit your words and your actions together for His glory.
A HEART OF LOVE
Lord, let me show Your love to everyone I meet today. Let me lift the spirits of others and strengthen their hearts in each thing that I do. Amen.
The Apple of His Eye
For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance. ... He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.
Deuteronomy 32:9–10 NIV
* * *
When you're the "apple of someone's eye" you feel pretty special. Perhaps you were your grandmother's "apple," or your aunt Mary's special little one. Maybe you have someone in your life who is the "apple of your eye." What a delightful position to be in!
Imagine being the apple of God's eye. You might remember that Jacob was shielded and cared for by God's grace. He was guarded and protected. What joy it is to remember that we are cared for in the same way! We are shielded from things we don't even know He protected us from. We are cared for by angels with tender mercy wherever we happen to be. Why? Because we're loved so much! Remember today that you are the apple of God's eye and the joy of His heart.
When you feel good about yourself, you extend more mercy and love to others. If the Lord's portion is His people, then you are the reason He has joy, you are one of His beloved. See each person you meet today as the "apple of God's eye!" When you do, you'll see more clearly that each one is worthy of great love.
A HEART OF JOY
Lord, let me act today as though I understand what it truly means to be the "apple" of Your eye. Let me know Your protection, mercy, and love in all that comes my way. Amen.
How Do You Quench Love?
Many waters cannot quench love; nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.
Song of Songs 8:7 NLT
* * *
One of the most passionate messages in the Bible says that we cannot quench love. What does that mean? We might think we could quench a thirst by drinking water, or quench a feeling by subduing it. However, what we see in this Scripture reminds us that rivers cannot wash love away, nor waters quench it so that you ever feel you've had enough. Therefore, love is here to stay, for nothing can drown it! Love continues on, and that's why God places such a premium on the matters of the heart.
God's love is forever unquenchable! You will never get enough of it and you will never use it up. Perhaps a way to capture a comparison is to think about someone in your life whom you truly love.
You may think that nothing could change the love that you have for this person and that you will always want more of it. You could never imagine that your love could dry up. You know that your love will continue to flow, flooding the heart of your beloved with every breath. It's amazing to think about this love. This thought may give you the initial flavor of God's outpouring of love for you.
Now think again about those dearest to your heart. Promise those you love that nothing will quench, or ever change, your love for them. Promise yourself that you will seek love that shapes your heart with the kind of unconditional acceptance that you receive from God. May your love for others simply overflow.
A HEART OF LOVE
Lord, let me overflow with love today, drinking You in, breathing You out, so that everyone around me will see more of You, less of me, and feel Your unquenchable love. Amen.
Loving the Unlovable
"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously."
Luke 6:27–30 MSG
* * *
It only seems right to be loving to the people you care about, but loving your enemies? Now, isn't that going just a bit too far? Pray for those who mistreat you? Well, that's a nice idea, but can you really do it?
Most of us treat others with compassion and kindness because we expect to be treated with compassion and kindness in return. It's not always easy because we're human, and so we have to lean on God's grace to help us have a heart- shaped life with His perspective, able to see beyond the situation at hand.
Sometimes you treat others with kindness and they still throw you under the bus or tell lies about you. It's possible that even your friends will betray you. When those things happen and your heart is broken, it's not easy to do it God's way. However, the Scripture answer is pretty clear, "Love, do good, bless, and pray."
Abusive actions of others give us no excuses to be abusive in return. Instead, we are given opportunities in difficult moments to put Jesus into action, to show God's love, even if we can't quite show our own. May you find that your heart is so shaped by God's love that you can even embrace those who appear to be unlovable.
A HEART OF LOVE
Lord, let me out-love all those around me today. Let me be an example of Your care, Your gifts, and Your presence wherever I am. Amen.
Sing for Joy!
But let everyone who trusts you be happy; let them sing glad songs forever. Protect those who love you and who are happy because of you.
Psalm 5:11 NCV
* * *
Imagine what it would be like if you decided to rise every morning, maybe even this morning, rejoicing in the Lord. Picture it! You're singing for joy and living in peace. You know, without a doubt, that you are protected, loved, and meant to live fully and well. You are not going to let a negative thought anywhere near you because this is your day for joy! You've got the wings of an angel gently wrapped around your shoulders and you know God watches over you and protects you. It's an astounding day!
Okay, now coming back down to earth, take a serious look at the word joy. What can you do on any given day to find the best, most positive side of a situation? Maybe this will help. When you can't be happy in a circumstance, you can feel the joy of knowing you are known by your Creator, the One who wants only your good. Trusting that God wants only your good means that you can look to Him to help you rise above anything that ushers in the gray skies.
Step into the day with a smile for the world, renewed energy for those you love, and a decision in your heart that today you'll do it. You will live in joy. You will think joy! Sing joy!
A HEART OF JOY
Lord, I'm walking, I'm singing, I'm running with You all day today in great joy! Thanks for being with me and giving me the right spirit to see Your hand at work in all I do. Amen.
Put on a Happy Face
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:13 NIV
* * *
When your spirit is crushed it's not easy to find your way back to the positive you. You may decide to put on a happy face, but that decision alone does not always change the way you feel inside.
Suffering, anguish, sadness, and other negative feelings come out of nowhere, ambushing you and leaving you feeling hopeless. The good news is that you don't have to embrace them. You don't have to carry them with you every place you go. In fact, you can't carry them because they are dead weights. So, how do you step around them and return to a happy heart? Try something like this. Pray about your sorrow and then imagine putting it outside yourself, wrapping it up and just setting it aside. Ask Jesus to carry it for you, and then go out for a walk, unburdened. You have given the burden to the only One who can make a difference in the situation. You are not meant to carry the load alone. Your Savior desires to do that for you.
Open your eyes to the world around you and focus your heart on the needs of others. Talk to a neighbor, reach out to a friend, and find a reason to laugh. By the time you return home, the burden you've been feeling will have lifted, your step will be lighter, and your face will shine with true joy.
A COMFORTING HEART
Lord, help me to realize that my sorrows are important to You and that I don't need to carry them alone. Bless this situation that concerns me today, and walk with me until the answers come. Amen.
Joyful, Patient, Faithful ... Me?
Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. Share with God's people who need help.
Romans 12:12-13 NCV
* * *
Hope is the thing that gives wings to the soul. It changes the way we perceive the world. When we have hope, our spirits are renewed and we have reason to rejoice. Hope is a matter of the heart; for with hope we see things differently, positively, and joyfully.
When affliction comes, though, our patience gets shorter and we lose hope. Sometimes we even lose our ability or our desire to pray. We wonder if God is still near. What do we do then?
The writer of Romans gives us a suggestion. When our hope is down, we can turn our attention to others. We can share with God's people in need and practice hospitality. We can take the opportunity to volunteer our services and our talents and take our minds away from our lagging spirits. In so doing, we may discover that hope returns. Giving from the heart produces wings of hope. Giving of ourselves brings patience and peace.
There's a great day ahead. Remember that you are an ambassador of hope because you have the love of Jesus tucked inside your soul. Let your heart return to that hope today.
A HEART OF HOPE
Lord, renew my hope today. Let my spirits rise as I work, live, and serve others in Your name. Let my heart find hope in You again. Amen.
Creating a Heart-Shaped Day
This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 NASB
* * *
Every sunrise brings a choice. You can choose to live in the light of God's love and blessing, or you can choose to crawl back under the covers and go it all alone. If you go it alone, you may not see the world with the same perspective that you will surely have under the guidance of God's Spirit.
Without a sense of your Spirit's connection to your heart and to God, your choices become limited. In a somewhat dimmed light you may see everyone around you as difficult and cruel. You may imagine an obstacle hides around every corner. You may even be blinded by worries that prevent you from realizing all that God has for you.
When you choose to view people as those that the Lord loves and has redeemed, and you choose to see life as a continual source of learning what is good, you'll be awake to the Spirit and able to see things in a more positive way. You'll see the light and not the darkness, the good and not the evil. Your heart will understand its purpose and shine a light through your smile and your kindness. The choice you make is significant.
This is the day the Lord has made. It was created for you to enjoy right now. This is the only day you have; it's the gift of the present. When the sun goes down on this day, will you have spent it in joy? Will you be the reason someone else can rejoice? You are the light of the world and this is your day to shine. Rejoice!
A LIGHT HEART
Lord, as I walk in Your light, help me to bless everyone that comes onto my path with Your love and compassion. Help me to keep choosing to see the good in all those I encounter. I offer You heartfelt thanks and praise in all things. Amen.
Living in Harmony
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV
* * *
Okay, brothers and sisters, kids and coworkers, this is your day to make peace with one another. Try something new! For one day, just today, live in harmony, forgiveness, and genuine contentment. No excuses! Are you ready to try it?
Harmony doesn't mean you have to sing the same note or even the same song as everyone else. It just means you have to hum along and help keep things running smoothly. You have to know when it's time to sing your own melody or when to sing your part loudly and happily to add a supportive note. You have to know when to listen with your heart for a song that may not be familiar to you.
Excerpted from The Heart-Shaped Life by Karen Moore. Copyright © 2017 Karen Moore. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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