Follow Your Heart (And Why That’s a Really Bad Idea)

The world's mantra isn't telling you everything.

It’s the mantra of today. It’s the moral lesson of most movies. It’s the guiding light of many lives: “Follow your heart!” After all, it sounds so right, doesn’t it?

Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart” is another way of following your feelings. Even as Christians, our feelings often lead us, don’t they?

  • “I don’t feel good about this.”
  • “Am I comfortable with this direction?”
  • “I don’t have a peace about this decision.”

Following your heart is a popular, but unwise, way to make decisions.

Although our feelings are real, they may not represent reality. And even if what we feel does have some connection to reality, it is never all of reality.

God offers a better way.

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Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Really Do It

2 truths remain essential if we hope to move on.

Would you like to hold a grudge with God’s blessing? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how much of the same guff you had to take from someone until you no longer had to forgive?

Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Do It

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The problem with forgiving is that the debt is real.

  • Your parents neglected or even abused you.
  • Your spouse betrayed your wedding vows.
  • Your best friends backstabbed you.
  • Someone hurt you so deeply you feel you may never recover.

The debt is real. And in order to forgive, you must give even more than has already been taken. And this is hard. Very, very hard. But if we want God to forgive us, it’s essential.

The good news? Scripture shows us how.

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When Your Life Feels Empty

Looking at the Right Gauge is the Secret to Making It

I used to use an old pickup truck for odd jobs. It was dented, scratched, and ugly—but faithful. The only glitch in the truck was the gas gauge. No matter how much gas it had, the gauge read “almost empty.”

When Your Life Feels Empty

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If you had just filled up, it read “almost empty.” If you had half a tank, it read “almost empty.” The gauge only worked when you were out of gas! It would immediately move from “almost empty” to “empty.” I remember once I coasted into a gas station on fumes and a prayer.

I have found one thing in life that cuts the cable from the gas tank to the gas gauge quicker than anything else.

  • It drains your relationships with people and dries up your walk with God.
  • It blurs your vision, exaggerates your emotions, and takes a healthy, balanced perspective of life and twists it of proportion.

I’m talking about the pervasive and infectious attitude of bitterness.

You can be riding along with a full tank, but bitterness will show you a gauge “almost empty.”

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Caution: We Worship What We Think We Need

Are people taking the place of God in your life?

When you hear the word “idol,” what comes to mind (other than the TV talent show)? We might think of money, materialism, or even the golden calf. But rarely do we think of people.

We Worship What We Think We Need

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We worship what we think we need—whether it’s God, money, or even people. People make us feel good. Like a sunflower in a sunny field, we face the source that keeps us satisfied and meets our needs. But whom we worship, we will also obey.

That’s why worshipping people—or using them to get what we think we need—leaves us enslaved to them.

Years ago Cathy and I were given a gift certificate to the Dallas Hard Rock Café, which used to be, ironically, a place of worship—the McKinney Avenue Church. Inside the café I saw a 50-ft high stained glass rendering of Elvis, seated on a throne. It reminds me of what British pop singer Robbie Williams said to the BBC Radio:

I’ve got the tattoo on my arm: ‘Elvis grant me serenity.’ Before the gig we all get in a huddle and pray to Elvis to look after us while we’re onstage.

Really? Wow.

God offers a better alternative.

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This Mind Hack Can Get You Through an Ordinary Day

Focusing on one objective helps the rest fall into place.

The ordinary days of life far outnumber the extraordinary ones. That can get discouraging. But as we look at the lives in the Bible, we see the same pattern. Thankfully, they were normal like us.

This Mind Hack Can Get You Through an Ordinary Day

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Like us, the biblical lives show years of routine interrupted by occasion moments of excitement. Thankfully, we see God at work in the ordinary day just as much as in the extraordinary. David’s fight with Goliath is the perfect example.

It can also happen with you.

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How the Spring Blows Open Your Backdoor to Hope

The Ultimate Earth Day Still to Come

Not long ago I walked down a country road and saw the spring leaves popping from the trees. Literally a week earlier the branches had nothing. One week! It got me to thinking.

How the Spring Blows Open Your Backdoor to Hope

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All the potential for the trees to leaf lay hidden, dormant all winter, until something inside the trees awakened them from sleep. Life was there all the time, hiding behind death, until something cued it to resurrect.

If this is how the earth responds to the stimulus of spring every year, how much more potential lay dormant—awaiting the moment God removes the effects of fallen humanity from our planet? Talk about an Earth Day!

The Bible uses this truth to encourage us in our struggles.

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How Jesus Took Life in the Fast Lane in Stride

The One Thing Jesus Did to Change Activity to Efficiency

Is this true of you? Whenever I find myself with a free moment, I feel compelled to fill it with something productive. Because I hate to waste time, I fill it with activity and justify it as productivity.

How Jesus Took Life in the Fast Lane in Stride

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But I’m learning that constant movement doesn’t always represent efficiency. It could, moreover, represent just the opposite.

As with every other part of the human experience, Jesus remains our model of efficiency. But His life—even before the cross—was no easy walk:

  • The demands on Him were constant.
  • The needs He faced were overwhelming.
  • The expectations He encountered were unrealistic.

No person was ever more qualified to do it all, and yet Jesus took life in the fast lane in stride.

What was His secret?

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What Makes Your Nostalgia So Risky?

Here's best way to counter a glorified memory.

Years ago Cathy and I traveled with another couple to a park near their hometown. After we arrived, they pointed to an old store and said: “The ice cream there is great!” So we bought some. Bad idea.

Are You Glorifying Nostalgia

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After our first few licks, Cathy and I looked at each other with the same unenthusiastic expression. Great ice cream? Hardly. It tastes like chemicals.

Then it hit me. What was “great” to the other couple had nothing to do with the ice cream they lapped with gusto. They simply savored the childhood memory of getting ice cream at that store.

Nostalgia flavors the facts. On one hand, that’s a good thing. It serves us great memories.

But on the other hand, it also offers significant risks.

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Feel Stuck? You’re Not, Really.

Here's Why Your Problems Keep You in a Corner

Problems never just go away or take care of themselves. The Lord will patiently wait and permit the circumstances to compel us to do what we should have done at the beginning.

Why Your Burdens Seem so Heavy

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Remember Jacob? Before his sons could purchase any more grain for the famine, he was required to bring the very person Jacob had refused to release into God’s control—his youngest son, Benjamin. In Jacob’s own words, “My son shall not go down with you” (Gen. 42:38).

However, like straws loaded on a camel’s back, day after parched day of the famine finally took their toll. It’s the same with us.

But the weight on our shoulders isn’t ours to bear.

Our problems keep us in a corner until we turn to God.

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What to Do When You Feel Insignificant

One truth easy to forget can make all the difference.

When we find ourselves dissatisfied with what God has us doing, it could reveal that we’ve confused our significance in serving God with our significance to God.

What to Do When You Feel Insignificant

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I’ve been there just like you have. When we get frustrated that our lives seem to accomplish nothing or that our ministry bears little fruit, we need to review our motives for life and ministry. Rather than merely measure productivity and activity, we need to value the “little things,” such as intentions, faithfulness, and faith.

Our relationship with God remains more important to Him than our ministry for Him.

Here’s why.

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