Do You have a Heart Murmur?

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.


We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 


Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book.


I am very excited to announce we have a new guest blogger. Michael Thorin is joining us each month on the third Sunday of each month. He has some inspiring thoughts and ideas to share. His first post is about PTSD, and how he found his way out of the fog of this world. 


Heart murmurs…


* are extra heart sounds caused by turbulent blood flow, sufficient enough to produce an audible noise, ranging from very faint to very loud.

* are due to functions and activities of life or of living matter (physiologic conditions) outside the heart.

* are a treatable and preventable condition. If not serious, medication will improve the condition. If more serious, surgery may be in order.


But what if it is spiritual rather than physical? Are those heart sounds, from faint to loud, due to conditions outside the heart?


Israel had this heart problem. What was it? Murmuring and complaining. And God was grieved and disgusted with this whiny bunch.


God once said to Moses and Aaron, “How long will this evil congregation murmur against Me? I have heard the complaints the Israelites murmur against Me.” (Num. 14:27 Amp)


What were the outside conditions that caused their murmuring? They deplored their situation. Israel “grew impatient along the way, and they began to murmur against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!’” (Num. 21:4-5 NLT)


David said that “they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in His promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD.” (Ps. 106:24-25 ESV)


The results of too much whine? The book of Numbers should be a red-flag warning to all of us. Because of their murmuring and complaining, God implemented numerous forms of punishment, among them…


1) fire

2) plagues

3) fiery serpents

4) death for the entire congregation except for Joshua, Caleb, and those under the age of twenty.


God chastised Israel, saying to them, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of [mind and] heart [in gratitude] for the abundance of all [with which He had blessed you], therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and in want of all things.” (Deut. 28:47-48a Amp)


That was the Old Testament, you say. But has God changed?


The English translation of The Received Greek Text says in 1 Corinthians 10:9-11a, as Paul exhorts, “Neither overtempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by serpents. Neither should you murmur, as also some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. And all these things happened to those as examples, and it was written for our warning.”


All these things happened as object lessons for us – to warn us against whining, complaining, and not being grateful because of life’s adverse circumstances – that we might not receive God’s discipline. He may use different methods today, but His righteous anger has not changed.


Is a murmuring heart a treatable and preventable condition? Yes! To maintain spiritual health, we replace the whining that destroys the proper functioning of the heart with the remedy of praise and thanksgiving. However, if we do not work on our heart condition, God certainly will, using His own special type of surgery.


If Proverbs tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Prov. 4:23 NLT), and Jesus said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech” (Luke 6:45 TLB), then we need to heed those words, for “He who watches over his mouth guards his life.” (Prov. 13:3 Lynn’s Version)


All Israel had to do was step through the portal of thanksgiving, but their murmuring, disobedience, and impatience slammed the gate shut, barricading the entrance to God’s promise. For forty years, they lived next door to that land of milk and honey, but almost all of them never lived to set foot on it.


The wilderness takes its victims while they are yet wandering in their complaints. To live in the Land of Promise, you must step out of the wilderness of murmuring.


Does your heart pour out too much whine or pulsate with praise and thanksgiving?


~Lord, my prayer is this, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14 NLT)~


Blessings, Lynn


Heart murmurs come in many forms. What kind do you have?  


You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Who is in Control in Your Life?

 * We are pleased to bring back Linda Clare for our guest blogger tonight. She has a wonderful post for you to ponder. Her thoughts should awaken many thoughts and ideas for you. Thank you Linda for taking the time to share with us.
Who’s in Control?
By Linda Clare
Have you ever heard someone say, “He’s so controlling?” Or maybe you’ve been asked by someone, “Stop trying to control my life!” When we face hard times, being asked to hand over control of our lives is tough, especially when God is the One doing the asking.
When I’m struggling with control issues, I always think of the Peanuts comic strip character, Linus, who carries his security blanket with him at all times. It’s as if one minute Linus is singing about how wonderfully merciful and kind God is, able to do anything if we only have faith. The very next second, he yanks that control back, clinging to the security he believes his blanket brings.
I have more than a little Linus in me. My bent toward managing everything in my life began at a young age, when I underwent several post-polio orthopedic surgeries. In the hospital, I focused on my reaction to pain so much that I refused analgesic injections after surgery because I was so fearful of the needle. I suffered rather than risk a momentary pinprick. I wasn’t sure God would rescue me from my ordeal, so I thought I’d have to face it alone. The pain of not knowing what lay ahead was like walking through a dark place in the dead of night.
Instead of being able to step off the cliff into God’s waiting arms, I’ve tried to fashion a meager parachute from the blanket of my insecurities. Like Linus after Snoopy the dog rushes him trying to steal the blanket, I’ve been attacked by fear and landed upside down. Even worse, sometimes I’ve landed upside down, still clutching my stupid blanket.
Lucy, in the Peanuts strip, had a habit of calling Linus’ blanket “stupid.” When I think about the ways I try to control my own life with some sort of man-made blanket, I must say I agree. For instance, if I know I’m destined for the dentist’s drill, I might lie in bed the night before, jabbing my gums with my fingernail, hard as possible. I want to anticipate my reaction, so I rehearse the pain in advance. I also startle easily, so I’m hyper-alert at times, trying to avoid unpleasant surprises. Just another example of trying to trust God without really relinquishing my control.
In a twisted sort of way, my childhood reasoning works. If I’m so afraid of life, then the more I see what’s coming, the calmer I’ll be. I plan my day and make detailed lists. My writing time is organized around a tight schedule involving teaching, editing—and pain control. I cope with post-polio syndrome, trying to be “energy efficient” in order to sit upright for a long period. And I still startle like a kid who’s caught raiding the cookie jar. Life rarely unfolds the way I predict.
Over and over the unknown strikes fear into me. Holding my security blanket close, I cry out to God. My need to be in charge drives me to want a firm commitment from the Lord. “When can I expect you?” I plead, as if God should show up only when I see an advantage. When God doesn’t respond the way I think He should, it makes me crazy. But shielding myself with a raggedy blanket never works either.
Sometimes, I’m brave enough to peek out from beneath the darkness my blanket provides. Then God’s Light blinds me until my eyes adjust and I want to scurry away to a dark corner like a bug. Thankfully, God is patient. He gently coaxes me out into the open, asks me to lay aside the blanket and trust in Him and in Him alone. But some days letting go is so hard.
How about you? If you look around, you may see things in your own life that are warm and comfy, a security blanket that you hold onto when life gets messy. You may not even realize you’re clinging to something other than absolute trust in God’s direction. Especially if that direction seems to lead you straight into more trouble than you’re already in. Don’t worry, a long list of folks have hesitated to let God control their lives. Moses, King David, and Simon Peter come to mind. I’m guilty, too.
Several years ago, I couldn’t tell anyone about how one of my own children took my medication in order to pay for a drug habit. Keeping that information secret from friends who always lend their support caused me emotional hurt, but I saved face—and control. By not admitting my problem I prevented myself from vulnerability.
God’s surprise in this mess came when I spoke to a friend on the phone. Before I knew it, I’d blurted out my predicament. Her response burst with good will, comfort and prayer. I wasn’t prepared to spill my secret but God provided love and understanding; a perfect answer to my shame and heartbreak. 
Usually, the miracle I need so desperately shows up at the last possible second. I feign sleep, like a child awaiting Christmas morning, sneaking a peek to see if God’s on the way. I’m afraid to be surprised by God because I don’t want to hand over my life.
            If my friend had hammered me with advice about my son or burdened me with a list of bible verses to look up, I would have been put off. But she let me weep into the phone, gave me permission to fall apart. And just as I wondered where the creator could be, God burst in with a comfort I can only describe as like thick, warm honey. I don’t know why I didn’t see God coming.
            Just as no amount of finger jabbing prepared me for post-surgical pain when I was a kid, none of my lists, time management techniques or second-guessing really help me control my day.  And whether you or a loved one struggles with depression, substance abuse, finances or a myriad of other earthly woes, what are you holding onto instead of giving God your full trust? Your job, your spouse, your home, your children? Whatever we substitute for the One True God keeps us farther away from God than we may know.
And if you’re like me, you may toss that blankie away many times every day. And then promptly fish it out of the trash. Even as I’m still working on a permanent solution, deep down I know if I trust God, love will direct my days. Love hurts when I can’t or won’t let go control. Love heals when I do. 
            And it’s love that is really at the heart of this control issue, isn’t it? The commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves is dangerous. Like Linus, we’re afraid of that dangerous love, afraid of the vulnerability Christ requires of us. So we clothe ourselves in cheap, moth-eaten blankets, and then wonder why God feels so far away.
I admit that I often keep a firm grip on my blanket in case Lucy ridicules me, in case Snoopy tries to snatch it away. I’m still learning that the only way to give God full control is to drop the blanket for good and surrender with both hands, even if the path winds straight through the valley of the shadow of death. To be able to say that God truly controls our lives, we must commit to a life of love.

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