Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Judge Not…~ October 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:12 am
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Have you ever met someone who felt they’d “earned” the right to judge another?

Perhaps they were done a serious injustice by this person whom they are quick to criticize that leads them to believe it’s perfectly acceptable to cast judgment for all of eternity. Perhaps you tend to agree with them. After all, the act that brought the onslaught of criticism was pretty detestable so the very least the victim deserves is a lifetime of scoffing and gossiping as some sort of payment for what this person put them through. Sounds reasonable, especially if you have found yourself fighting the same emotions. They hurt you so aren’t you entitled to scrutinize every little thing they’ve ever done wrong in their past? And that’s not near enough punishment for their crime so every future blunder should be fair game too, right?

Wrong.

“Well,” you may be saying, “what terrible people you have been talking about!” But wait a minute! You are just as bad. When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are talking about yourselves, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in justice, will punish anyone who does such things as these. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and overlook you when you do them, too? Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (Romans 2:1-4 TLB)

You and I are neither judge nor jury. Given the fact that every one us has fallen short, caused others pain & outright sinned, we have no authority to cast that stone at another human being. How can we effectively deliver a sentence when we ourselves have been in the “guilty as charged” seat?

It pains me to see so many people walking around dying inside, suffering from emotional distress, because they can’t let go of bitterness and rage that scarred their hearts. I am in no way saying that feelings of resentment, anger & the like are unjustified. In most cases, deep wounds are in place because of an abuse of trust. What I am proposing is that those hurts are not your ticket to forever shame the offender. Feelings are not sinful, it’s how we react as a result of those feelings that leads us astray

I get it. It feels good, in a twisted sort of way, to despise the one who caused you immense pain, or worse than that, hurt your family. I’ve been on the giving end of a hate-filled glare….but I’ve also been on the receiving end and THAT is why I try to check myself before delivering a hardening stare in anyone’s direction.

There is much freedom to be found when we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us and it opens the door for us to receive the same grace and forgiveness for our own trespasses.

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~Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings~ July 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:28 am
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feelingsThere is a reason why the Bible says we are not to live by feelings alone. Feelings are deceiving! Just because something feels good to the flesh, doesn’t automatically make it good for the soul. It has been my experience, that most of the time, what feels good to us is the opposite of what is best for us.
Feelings are self-motivated. It’s all about me, who cares what everyone else thinks or how it’s going to affect my future? I want to do what makes me happy and gives me that sensation that I crave.
Too often people base their decisions on emotions rather than what they know to be true. This can be incredibly reckless. A prime example would be when people divorce because “they’ve lost that loving feeling” so to speak. When you took your vows, did you say for better or worse? A big part of the “worse” is when your feelings falter so you think that means you no longer love that person you vowed to hold through thick and thin. Feelings are fickle. One day I may feel head-over-heels in love with my man. The next day he forgets to do some random thing I’ve asked of him and suddenly that swooning feeling is evaporating. Do I truly love him less because of his actions, nope. Love is more than how you feel, it’s a commitment that should not hinge on what the other person does for you.
Now think of the same scenario as it pertains to your faith and relationship with God. One day you can sense God’s Spirit so strongly that you’re certain if you closed your eyes, when you opened them you’d see the Lord before you. He is answering your prayers, (the way you want them to play out), all is going great with everyone you love….you feel fully devoted to Him. Here comes the wrench. You are worshiping your heart out but you don’t get that goose bump feeling like you did last week so God’s presence must not be there. Your little one falls ill, a loved one dies, your finances crash…you don’t feel so close to God anymore because clearly He has removed His hand from your life. Oh that people would wake up and realize this is a trick of the enemy! Our feelings will mess with us at every turn. So it is vitally important that we base our lives around foundational truths rather than our roller-coaster feelings.

“Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.”

(Proverbs 28:26 NLT)

 Our emotions are not good indicators because they are ever changing. But God is always the same. His Word does not waver nor does His love for us.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

(Romans 10:17 NIV)

Faith comes by hearing, not experiencing a feeling….’nuff said.

 

~God’s Masterpiece~ April 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:58 am
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I am girl.

I have bad hair days, fat days, bite your head off for no good reason days, weepy days, utterly exhausted days…..

But that is not who I am.

Who I am is a child of the most high God.  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  (Psalm 139:14)  I am not a mistake.  There is no one on earth who is just like me.  I do not have to fit inside some mold that this world sets as a standard for beauty. I am beautiful the way my Creator made me.  I was born with a purpose to do great things to glorify my Father.  It is in His very presence that I am made whole.

There are days when I do not “feel” great about myself.  There have been days, (and probably more to come), when others criticism made me “feel” like less than who God says I am.  However, we are not called to live a life led by feelings.  Feelings are fickle, changing almost constantly.  They are not meant to define us, but to serve as indicators of our emotions.

While I may feel defeated or unworthy at times, the truth is that I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loves me.  On the days when I feel like my work is in vain and thoughts of inadequacy creep in, I am reminded that everything I do is for His glory, not for my own validation.

So ladies, today, with your frizzy hair, without a stitch of makeup, in your elastic waist band pants, complete with that cranky attitude just dying to get out…go and show the world who you really are:  God’s very own masterpiece, a priceless work of art.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling: there is no flaw in you.”

(Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV)

Now fella’s, don’t go thinking I forgot about you!

My husband and I recently had a discussion about why men crave attention and praise from their spouses or significant other…we are the only ones who give it to them!!

Ladies are very privileged in that we are made to encourage and support one another.  We have no problems telling our friends how beautiful, intelligent, and talented they are.  However, guys are not exactly prone to showing another guy some love.  How often does one man call or write his fellow man just to tell him how truly awesome he is?  Well, allow me:

You were made in God’s image, you are His glory.  He has given you power and authority over all creation.  He goes before you, guaranteeing you victory over your enemies.  He has made you the head of your family to lead by His example. So you should,

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor”

because just as

“iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

(Romans 12:10 & Proverbs 27:17)

Guys, compliment a friend today.  I promise no one is going to revoke your man card!  And ladies, do not be afraid to toss the men in your life some encouragement.  Think of how great it feels when they say kind words to you and simply return the favor.