How to Discover Your Unique, God-Given Dream in Life

Answer Two Simple Questions


“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines

the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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God created you with a built-in dream.  Your dream is your purpose.  It’s up to you to discover what your dream is.

 

What's Your Dream Concept

Fotolia: File: #78631377 | Author: Krasimira Nevenova

How will you recognize your dream? By answering two simple questions:

1) Does this activity give me great joy in the doing of it?

2) Do others give me feedback that this activity is blessing them?

When you can answer both of these questions affirmatively, you will have discovered your dream.

Once you have discovered your dream, it is your responsibility to follow it.

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Living from the Inside Out

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Organic Letterpress Type in DrawerThere’s a lot of talk these days about things “organic.”.  We have organic food, organic clothing, and even an organic Church.  What exactly does the word organic mean, and how does it relate to guarding our hearts?

The word “organic” goes back to the Greek word organon meaning instrument..  Another related Greek word, organikos, means “serving as instruments or engines.” In this sense, the heart can be called organic because it serves as the engine of our lives.  Just as an engine is what drives and propels a car forward, so does our heart drive and propel our life forward.

If your car engine is dirty, your car won’t run very well if it runs at all. When the human heart is dirty, the same is true. It won’t run very well, and, in some cases, it may not run at all. Take the case, for instance, of people who exhibit severe emotional illness.
So, what makes for a dirty heart, and how can it be cleaned?

A dirty heart is cluttered with things that clog its emotional arteries and hinder its proper functioning. Things such as wrong attitudes, emotional scars, and bad memories. In short, sin.  That sin could be our own on the sin of another that hurt us. No matter how much we may try to get rid of the things that clutter our heart, we will ultimately need the healing power of Jesus Christ to be totally healed.

The healthier your heart (aka, soul) is, the healthier you will be as a person. Why? Because what is in your heart affects every area of your life. We live from the inside out, not the outside in.  When we are strong on the inside, the pressures of life from the outside will not cause us to cave in.  Our inner strength, or inner pressure, will be greater than the outer pressure.  This means that our inner strength will render outer pressure ineffective and without consequence on our lives.

And that is a wonderful way to live!

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Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

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Guarding Our Emotions

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Emotions can be powerful forces in our lives, driving us to places we would rather not go. A big part of guarding our hearts involves keeping our emotions under control. The reason for this is that our emotions drive our hearts.  Do you want a wild and careless driver driving your heart? I don’t think so. We all want the driver of our heart to drive safely so that we reach our destination in one piece and without regrets.

So, who should be in the driver’s seat of your heart?  There is only one safe driver: Holy Spirit. When Holy Spirit is driving your heart, you will be safe and reach your destination unharmed. 

You may be asking, “Who is Holy Spirit?”  Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, the One Whose job it is to drive your heart.  It is we, however, who must hand over the keys to Holy Spirit.  How do you and I do this?

1) In every situation, we must make God’s Word our final authority.  Here’s a practical example.  Let’s say you are married but are attracted to another man, maybe even at church.  Maybe you serve together in the same ministry  (Satan loves to arrange these kinds of situations that appear harmless but are really traps).  You find that you enjoy being with this man, that he “understands” you in a way your husband does not.  So, the man invites you to have a cup of coffee with him after your ministry meeting. You feel a twinge of a check in your spirit, but you rationalize that there’s really nothing wrong with having coffee with him. After all, he’s your brother in Christ. So, you go out for coffee. As you talk, you notice that he’s really listening to you, that he affirms you, that he values your opinion. A sharp contrast with your husband. Before you know it, you’ve fallen into emotional adultery which, if not stopped, could eventually lead to physical adultery. 

So, what do you do? You go to God’s Word from the get-go. The Word says to “give no appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22).  This means that even if something is not inherently wrong, we must not do it if it could come across as wrong. A Christian woman going out alone for coffee with a Christian man who is not her husband (or blood brother) may not always be inherently wrong, but it looks wrong because it can arouse suspicion. So, don’t do it!  If your Christian brother invites you out for coffee, bring your husband with you, and vice versa.  Guard your heart!  The same applies to other situations where there is a question about a certain action. Always go to God’s Word first and determine what He says about it. Then do what He says.

2) Listen to your conscience.  The conscience serves as a traffic light for your heart. When we are about to do something that is not right, the light turns red, warning us to stop. When we are about to do something that is okay to do, the light remains green, confirming that it is safe to proceed.  When we are facing a decision that is not clear but could be a problem, the light turns yellow.  If you get a yellow light, stop and pray.  Do not rush through the yellow light.  Wait for God to make the path clear as to what you should do or not do.

3) Stay immersed in God’s Word. When a bank teller is in training, he never handles counterfeit money. He handles only real money so that when a counterfeit bill crosses his hands, he will instantly recognize it. When we handle the Word of God continually, we will instantly recognize when Satan tries to trick us with something contrary to the Word of God.

Emotions are deceptive because they present themselves as the truth. For instance, you may feel that God doesn’t love you, but that is not the truth.  You may feel like a failure, but that is not the truth.  You may feel hopeless, but that is not the truth.  The truth is only what God says in His Word.  God says He loves you, you are more than a conqueror, and in Him you have hope.  When your emotions and God’s Word do not agree, your emotions are lying to you.

Remember: Satan wants to be in the driver’s seat of your heart.  He will try to trick you into giving him the keys to your heart. He will do this by manipulating your emotions. The only way you can avoid his wicked trap is to cling to Jesus.  Let His Holy Spirit alone drive your heart.  Stay immersed in the Word of God. If you do, you will reach the end of life’s journey unscathed and unharmed. You will enter into the eternal joy that God has prepared for those who love Him and obey Him.

Questions: 1) What trap is Satan currently setting for you? 2) Are you aware of his wicked schemes in your life? 3) What will you do to become more aware?  You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

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Copyright 2015 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved.

 

Guard Your Heart!

Shield and SwordsThe heart is the seat of everything that transpires in your life.  By heart, I do not mean your physical heart but, rather, your spiritual heart–that part of you that is the core of your being.

In Proverbs 4:23, Scripture says this about the heart: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Did you notice the words “Above all else”?  This means that nothing is more important in life than guarding your heart.

Okay, so what does it mean to guard your heart?

1) To guard your heart means to protect it from all harm.  What is harmful to the heart? Anything that could cause your heart to become polluted. What causes the heart to become polluted?  Anything that is the opposite of truth and love. What is the opposite of truth and love? The lie and fear.

The lie is the opposite of the truth. The lie destroys our hearts and, by extension, our lives and our relationships. Every problem we are facing has, at its root, a lie. Usually, we are not aware of the lie, but, nonetheless, it is wreaking havoc in our lives. The lie is often hidden in a belief that is contrary to truth. The lie reveals itself in the form of  negative thoughts, negative emotions, and negative actions. 

By the same token, fear is the opposite of love. Fear also destroys our hearts and, by extension, our lives and our relationships. Fear manifests itself in anger, rage, depression, criticism, shame, and guilt.

Bottom-line, anything that does not line up with truth and anything that does not line up with love will pollute your heart. Truth and love: These are the indicators of a healthy heart. The lie and fear: These are the indicators of an unhealthy heart.

2) To guard your heart , then, means knowing what truth and love are. How can you know what truth and love are?  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). To know Jesus is to know Truth. How can you know Jesus? By studying His Word.  Jesus and His Word (the Bible) are one and the same. As you study God’s Word, you will get to know, apprehend, and comprehend Jesus.And as you get to know, apprehend, and comprehend Jesus, you will get to know, apprehend, and comprehend Truth. In like manner, Scripture tells us that “God is love” (I John 4:8).  Jesus is God; therefore, He is Love. As you get to know Jesus, you will get to understand the true meaning of love. By making Jesus the center of our lives we can guard our hearts.

3) To guard your heart means to keep it full of truth and love so that your every thought, word, and deed will be motivated by truth and love.  When your thoughts, words, and deeds are motivated by truth and love, you will experience the good life for which God created you. You will then know what it means to be joyful, content, and fulfilled.

Remember this: The lie is the ultimate enemy of the heart. Fear flows out of the lie. Love flows out of truth. Keep truth and love as the guiding principles of your life, and you will succeed in guarding your heart.

Questions: Have you, like me, struggled with guarding your heart? What practical steps do you take to guard your heart? You may leave a comment by clicking here.

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Copyright 2015 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.
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