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Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 4

In part 3 of this series we discussed the idea of breaking free from guilt and shame so we can embrace our call to be God's masterpiece. The main idea of the post was to declare that we are not too far gone to be loved by or used by God.

But what's our part?

Here's my take: We are not merely existing without any bearing on what the outcome of our days will be. Life is full of actions and reactions.  A relationship with Jesus does not negate this law of life. In fact, it is God's law of sowing and reaping that we see play out in this cycle as choices are followed by consequences.  

Throughout scripture we find wonderful promises from God as well as great proverbs (wisdom or advice) for life. Many of these require some action on our part.  Take these few for example: Tell the Lord what you need and His peace will guard your heart and mind (Phil 4:6-7); Trust the Lord instead of your own understanding and He will guide you (Proverbs 3:5-6); Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)

Did you catch it? It's the verb before the promise that we are responsible for. We aren't held accountable for the promise itself, but we are held responsible for the action that prompts God reaction. 

Why do I share this? Because I think we are made up of largely two mindsets and from time to time straddle both. The first being that we are powerless and victimized by whatever evil system that is present in the world to keep us bound. The second being that our life is solely what we make of it and not only do we have to monitor how we act but we also have to control every reaction to us. I'm not sure where you stand, but I've tried both and both have failed me at some point.

I want to suggest a third mindset for us to consider, what we dig up depends on what we plant; however, there are conditions outside of our control that can affect our harvest. Take a farmer for example, he can control the seeds he plants, the care he gives to his crop, and any precautions he takes from outside forces, but he can't control the temperatures, the rains, or natural disasters

Here's what I'm saying: There are only certain things in which we can control. Our obedience to God, the required actions that proceed His promises, and the return on living according to Godly wisdom are in our control. The unseen obstacles of life are not. We can take precautions, but we can't control them.  So as we journey from a fragmented state to being whole, let's practice controlling what we can control and then trust God to fulfill His promises.

      Here is a list of promises and life wisdom to get you started.  

P.S. If you are anything like me, you may be still wondering if God can be trusted to fulfill His promises.  That's one we each will have to wrestle in our own arenas of life, but in the next and final part of this series I will try to explore that question a little deeper. 

A List of God's Promises and Wisdom for Life - Share your own favorite

This is a list of scriptures that I have started as a link for the series Fragmented at Heart - Part 4. It is intended to be the beginning of a collection of promises from God as well as scriptural wisdom for life that calls us to act, even if that action is waiting. 

Please help grow the list by leaving your favorite "action scripture" in the comments.

Note: I'm working on linking each verse, until then you can use this bible gateway link

God's Promises You Can Act On

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

Cast all your cares on Him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9  

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. - James 4:8a

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13  

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5
Commit your actions to the Lordand your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 

Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

Take delight in the Lordand he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. John 14:12

Godly Wisdom for Life (honestly we could just quote the book of Proverbs) 
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4 

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24  

The path of the virtuous leads away from evil whoever follows that path is safe. Proverbs 16:7

Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:8 

Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful. Proverbs 16:20 

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. 
Proverbs 15:1 

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself, but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor. Proverbs 15:31-33 

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 3

If you have been following this series with me, we've looked at the reality that we are complete in Christ, yet we have some unhealed wounds that need to be dealt with before we can walk in the wholeness and victory we have been called to.  (If you you haven't been following along you can go back and read the previous posts linked above)

Today I want to share some good news that will hopefully quite the raging lies brought on by living in guilt and shame. It's news that I need to be reminded of quite often: we are not too broken, too shattered, too wretched, too sinful, too far gone, or too much of any other accusation we have faced or offense we have committed to be used by and loved by God.

  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be  able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.   
                 Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Too many times, we believe the opposite is true becasue our fragmented heart often backs up the thinking that we have fallen out of God's grace as it haunts us with failures, unnamed sins, missed opportunities, unmet dreams, and more. They call out from the depths in which we have hidden them and remind us that our blemishes have no place in the presence of God much less doing any work that counts. Truth counters that and affirms that God can use it to our good and His purpose.

 And we know that God causes everything to work 
     together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  
                                       Romans 8:28 (NLT)

So the next time we are tempted to let the guilt and shame stained pieces of ourselves sideline us, let's instead, surrender those tainted pieces to the artistic hand of God and live like the masterpieces we are.

 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in        Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 2

In part one of this series, we began looking at the idea of being fragmented; broken people who allow the cares of this world crack us and leave us feeling incomplete and without. Then we looked at the hope of being made complete in Christ.

Let's reverse the train for a moment becasue there is something that we must address before continuing the journey from broken to complete. It's a truth you and I have to admit before we can move forward. 

We have all been a victim. Now, we don't stay here, but before we can move ahead we must acknowledge truth. Some wrong, abuse, or injustice has crossed our path and left wounds in our heart. We must acknowledge these areas in order for healing to occur. 

If we ignore the wounds, then we allow the power of their poison to continually flow through our hearts. We accept the injury and refuse the removal of the pain. It is like an infection buried in the depths of our heart. Although we think we have it so quarantined from the remaining parts of our life, we are wrong.  That one infected area is seeping out and tainting what is healthy. The only way to truly be free of its affects is to remove the poison. 

But how, we wonder?  

The first step is to reveal it (admit it). By doing so, it will shine a light into the hidden parts of the heart uncovering the unattended injury. Then once it is revealed, there has to be a process for healing.

He heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.

                              Psalm 147:3(NLT)

So practically what does this look like? 

Prayer. Grab a notebook and write down all the unhealed "heart wounds" that come to mind. Then address the feelings that come with each. Finally, take the action steps needed for healing. This may look like counseling, talking with the offender, admitting personal fault, forgiveness, or something further that God reveals. 

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
       he rescues those whose spirits are         
        Psalm 34:18(NLT)

Now it is time to release the VICTIM mindset so that you can step into the WARRIOR role which God has already given you. 

    Yet in all these things we are more than        conquerors through Him who loved us.

                                   Romans 8:37(NKJV)

You are no longer bound by the circumstances of your injury, but through the name of Jesus you have power to overcome and become more than anything that has tried to keep you bound.    

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

                                       Romans 8:37(NLT)

Even after wounds have been revealed and healing has occurred, everyday presents a new challenge to live like we believe we have the overwhelming victory and are loved by God.