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Heart and Words

Heart and Words (CaD Matt 12) Wayfarer

“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of…”
“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12:34b, 37 (NIV)

Every morning, Wendy and I sit at the kitchen island with our coffee and our blueberry-spinach smoothies. We share a quick devotional thought and a prayer for the day ahead. We then catch up on what is happening in the world. On occasion, I’ll finish reading an article and then glance at the comments that have been made by other readers below it. I don’t know why I even do this. I always regret doing so because the comments have such little worthwhile content and so much worthless vitriol. It doesn’t matter which side of the political aisle the article comes from.

I find the same to be true even among groups of supposedly like-minded individuals. Years ago I joined fan groups of my favorite teams on social media. I rarely visit them anymore. Even among people who cheer for the same team, I find the conflict and negative discourse over really trivial matters is often off-the-charts. I don’t find it worthwhile to spend my time and energy falling down that rabbit hole.

In today’s chapter, Jesus states a very simple spiritual truth that packs a punch:

Whatever is inside my heart and soul will come out of my mouth (and onto my social media posts) as words.

In the quiet this morning, I didn’t have to search for, or think hard about, what God had for me and my day from today’s chapter. I found myself thinking long and hard about Jesus’ observation: the words I speak, type, write, and use are a leading indicator of my soul’s health and content. I immediately thought of careless words I regret speaking to a friend last week. I then had two other passages that Holy Spirit brought to mind:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19 (NIV)

My soul operates on the basic computer principle I learned when I was in high school: garbage in, garbage out.

I head into my day with two questions I’m pondering:

What am I feeding my heart and mind?

What do my words, tweets, posts, and comments reveal about the health and condition of my soul?

Acts (Sep-Oct 2018)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Acts published by Tom Vander Well in November 2018. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Acts 1: Waiting and Watching

Acts 2: Worship Like You’re Drunk at 9 a.m.

Acts 3: Waypoints and Wisdom

Acts 4: When Systemic Power is Threatened

Acts 5: Human Endeavor vs. Divine Direction

Acts 6: Everyday People Making a Difference

Acts 7: Not Bricks and Mortar, but Flesh and Blood

Acts 8: Explosion Begets Expansion

Acts 9: Outside of the Lines

Acts 10: Arriving

Acts 11: Change, Action, & Reaction

Acts 12: Angels

Acts 13: Organism and Organization

Acts 14: He Went Back Into the City

Acts 15: Old Habits Die Hard

Acts 16: Money Trouble

Acts 17: The Truth About Trouble

Acts 18: Resurrection of the Organism

Acts 19: Of Mobs and Motives

Acts 20: Life, Death, Sacrifice, & the Multiverse

Acts 21: One of the Things We Continually Get Wrong

Acts 22: Paul the Lawyer & His Legal Chess Game

Acts 23: Polarized Parties, Powder Keg Issues, and Paul

Acts 24: The People v. Paul of Tarsus (Part 1)

Acts 25: The People v. Paul of Tarsus (Part 2)

Acts 26: The People v. Paul of Tarsus (Part 3)

Acts 27: Weathering the Storm

Acts 28: To Be Continued…

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

Click on the image above for easy access to recent chapter-a-day posts indexed by book!

Galatians (Oct-Nov 2018)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Galatians published by Tom Vander Well in October and November 2018. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Galatians 1: The Maverick

Galatians 2: From “Members Only” to “A Can of Worms”

Galatians 3: The Gap Instinct

Galatians 4: The Boulevard and the Gate

Galatians 5: Freedom, Indulgence, Hard Knocks, and Wisdom

Galatians 6: Sharing the Burden, Carrying the Weight

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

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1 Thessalonians (Nov 2018)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 1 Thessalonians published by Tom Vander Well in November 2018. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

1 Thessalonians 1: “What’s My Motivation?”

1 Thessalonians 2: Managing Misinterpreted Motives

1 Thessalonians 3: Destined for Tough Terrain

1 Thessalonians 4: Work, Retirement, and “Enjoying Life”

1 Thessalonians 5: Maturing into Child-like Wonder

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

Click on the image above for easy access to recent chapter-a-day posts indexed by book!

2 Thessalonians (Nov 2018)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 2 Thessalonians published by Tom Vander Well in November 2018. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

2 Thessalonians 1: Progress

2 Thessalonians 2: The Dude Abides

2 Thessalonians 3: The Simple Honor of Labor

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

Click on the image above for easy access to recent chapter-a-day posts indexed by book!

Mark (Apr/May 2021)

Each photo below corresponds to the chapter-a-day post for the book of Mark published by Tom Vander Well in April and May of 2021. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Mark 1: Source, not Compensation

Mark 2: The Great Conflict

Mark 3: A Different Playbook

Mark 4: Sow What?

Mark 5: The Three Questions

Mark 6: Soil Samples

Mark 7: The Contrast

Mark 8: The Inflection Point

Mark 9: “Ins” and “Outs”

Mark 10: Life on the Fast-Track

Mark 11: By-Products

Mark 12: The Crowd

Mark 13: Of Riches and Rubble

Mark 14: Mary and the Dudes

Mark 15: Success

Mark 16: Endings and Invitations

Psalms (Jul 2020-Apr 2021)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Psalms published by Tom Vander Well beginning in July 2020. Posts will be added as they are published. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post. Chapter and title are found in the caption of each photo.

Psalm 1: In the Flow of Life

Psalm 2: Refuge in Royally Troubled Times

Psalm 3: Been There, Done That

Psalm 4: David’s “Seven Steps”

Psalm 5: Of Layers and Flow

Psalm 6: “Get it Out, Little Dude”

Psalm 7: The “Why Me?” Blues

Psalm 8: The Honor of Creation

Psalm 9: Running to the Same Stronghold

Psalm 10: The Perplexing Mystery

Psalm 11: Faith or Flight

Psalm 12: Much Needed Affirmation

Psalm 13: The “How Long” Blues

Psalm 14: People-Eaters

Psalm 15: Cutting the Mustard

Psalm 16: “I’ve Got Your Back”

Psalm 17: Just Appeal

Psalm 18: Praise-to-Plea Ratio

Psalm 19: A Good First Step

Psalm 20: Fight! Fight! Fight!

Psalm 21: Oracle

Psalm 22: Prophecy & Professor Trelawney

Psalm 23: The Predicate

Psalm 24: Of Rules and Appetites

Psalm 25: The Disorder Blues

Psalm 26: “If I Really Believe What I Say I Believe…”


Psalm 27: The Feed

Psalm 28: Patterns

Psalm 29: Of Storms and Shelter

Psalm 30: Hope and the Pit

Psalm 31: My Times

Psalm 32: Spiritual Pivot-Point

Psalm 33: Sui Generis

Psalm 34: The Story Behind the Song

Psalm 35: Guernica

Psalm 36: Captive Brain

Psalm 37: The Simple, Complex Mystery

Psalm 38: The “Woe-is-Me” Blues

Psalm 39: “SIT ON IT”
Psalm 40: Eye Opening

Psalm 41: Betrayal

Psalm 42: Of Corruption and Cravings

Psalm 43: Chain Reaction of Praise

Psalm 44: The “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” Blues

Psalm 45: Love Song

Psalm 46: Refuge Within

Psalm 47: King of the Mountain

Psalm 48: Thin Places

Psalm 49: Wisdom and Winnowing

Psalm 50: The Religion Game

Psalm 51: A Psalm 51 Moment

Psalm 52: The Impotence to Respond

Psalm 53: Same Song, Only Different

Psalm 54: Prayer of Desperation

Psalm 55: Lament (and Parenting)

Psalm 56: Fear Response

Psalm 57: Highest Authority

Psalm 58: Getting it Out

Psalm 59: Surrounded and Slandered

Psalm 60: The “Bitter Defeat Blues”

Psalm 61: Postcard Promises

Psalm 62: The Mystery of the Missing Word

Psalm 63: The Nightwatch

Psalm 64: Unraveling

Psalm 65: Muted by 2020

Psalm 66: That Story is My Story

Psalm 67: Voices on the Whispering Wind

Psalm 68: Journey

Psalm 69: One Song, Two Stories

Psalm 70: “HELP!”

Psalm 71: Unseen Choices

Psalm 72: The Day the Music Died

Psalm 73: Envy: The “Pretty” Sin

Psalm 74: Child-like Feelings, Child-like Faith

Psalm 75: Beginning the End of a Shaky Year

Psalm 76: “It’s a Miracle!” (or Not)

Psalm 77: The One Thing I Always Fail to See

Psalm 78: Epic Wisdom

Psalm 79: Devastation, Dinosaurs, and Spiritual Development

Psalm 80: Meaning in the Metaphor

Psalm 81: The Mystery of the Voice

Psalm 82: Questions of Justice

Psalm 83: Fight Song

Psalm 84: My Heart’s Highway

Psalm 85: Stop, and Listen

Psalm 86: “Consider it Joy” (Again)

Psalm 87: “Centering Down”

Psalm 88: Dark Places

Psalm 89: Rug Pulling Moments

Psalm 90: My First Lesson in Time Management

Psalm 91: An Autopsy of My Fears

Psalm 92: Rest Sans Rule Keeping

Psalm 93: Faith in the Fire

Psalm 94: “Just the Way it Works”

Psalm 95: A Rocky Start

Psalm 96: New

Psalm 97: Macro and Micro

Psalm 98: Connected

Psalm 99: That’s Qadosh

Psalm 100: A Time to Shout!

Psalm 101: More Than Words

Psalm 102: “God is Grape”

Psalm 103: My Inmost Being

Psalm 104: Creation Contemplation

Psalm 105: Tribal Stories and Ballads

Psalm 106: Holy Moments in the Dark

Psalm 107: Exilic Reflections

Psalm 108: Of Change and Health

Psalm 109: Betrayed

Psalm 110: Geeking Out on the Great Story

Psalm 111: Simple Songs of a Child

Psalm 112: The Person I Want to Be

Psalm 113: Life is a Psalm

Psalm 114: Division

Psalm 115: Dominion

Psalm 116: Brooding

Psalm 117: Of Voices & Family

Psalm 118: Music, Ritual, and Meaning

Psalm 119: The Tension

Psalm 120: Songs with Purpose

Psalm 121: Songs of Assurance

Psalm 122: Human Systems

Psalm 123: Songs for Different Seasons

Psalm 124: Of Traditions

Psalm 125: Lessons in the Landscape

Psalm 126: Of Rubble and Restoration

Psalm 127: Gift, Not Reward
Psalm 128: “L’chaim!”

Psalm 129: Every Tribe and Tongue

Psalm 130: Cancelled! (Not)

Psalm 131: Finding Contentment

Psalm 132: Things I Don’t Control

Psalm 133: Body

Psalm 134: Call and Response

Psalm 135: Weekend Treasure

Psalm 136: The Song and the Story

Psalm 137: Old Wounds Die Hard

Psalm 138: One Song, Two Levels

Psalm 139: Judicial Realizations

Psalm 140: Ruminating

Psalm 141: About Knowing

Psalm 142: Prison Blues

Psalm 143: Good Morning
Psalm 144: A Tale of Two Kings

Psalm 145: “King of My Castle”

Psalm 146: Holy Moment

Psalm 147: Exile and Return

Psalm 148: Strength in Praise

Psalm 149: Bookends of Praise

Psalm 150: Just Breathe

Exodus (May-Jul 2020)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Exodus published by Tom Vander Well in May and June 2020. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: Of Tribe and Time

Chapter 2: “Out of the Water”

Chapter 3: The Call

Chapter 6: Spiritual Sight and Hearing Impairment

Chapter 8: A Spiritual Contrast

Chapter 9: Judgment and Judiciousness

Chapter 10: God Revealing, Then and Now

Chapter 12: Doing Something

Chapter 13: Road Trip

Chapter 14: Into the Water

Chapter 15: Music and the Blues

Chapter 16: Roughing It…Not

Chapter 17: Whining Then and Now

Chapter 18: The One-Person Org Chart

Chapter 19: Parental Covenant

Chapter 20: Spiritual Batting Average

Chapter 21: An Accomplice to Change

Chapter 22: Losing the Truth of Loss

Chapter 23: “Jesus People Very Nice”

Chapter 24: Called to the Quiet

Chapter 25: Tent to Temple to Table

Chapter 26: From Bricks-and-Mortar to Flesh-and-Blood

Chapter 27: The Church’s Blueprint

Chapter 28: God Friended Me

Chapter 29: Another Choice

Chapter 30: I Smell

Chapter 31: Sabbath

Chapter 32: Before Old Things Pass Away They Often Lure Me Back
Chapter 33: Breaking a Stiff-Neck
Chapter 34: Positively “Horny” with Light
Chapter 35: The Question that Makes All the Difference
Chapter 36: More Than Enough

Chapter 37: Worth Repeating
Chapter 38: A Lesson in the Margins

Chapter 39: Building People

Chapter 40: The Continued Exodus

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

Click on the image above for easy access to recent chapter-a-day posts indexed by book!

1 Corinthians (Nov ’18/Jan ’19)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 1 Corinthians published by Tom Vander Well in November and December 2018 and January 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: The “Divine Right” (to be Equal)
Chapter 2: The Cloud of Unknowing
Chapter 3: Cooperation, not Competition
Chapter 6: Life, and Light, Under the Bucket
Chapter 7: Answering Accusation (or Not)
Chapter 8: Context and Relationships
Chapter 8: Non-Essential Liberty
Chapter 9: Vocation and Ministry
Chapter 10: “Ten Bucks”
Chapter 11: From Simple Ritual to Complex Regulation
Chapter 12: Rediscovering the Organism
Chapter 13: The Activating Ingredient
Chapter 14: My Lessons from Diverse Experiences
Chapter 15: The Grace Response
Chapter 16: Love in the Ordinary

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

Click on the image above for easy access to recent chapter-a-day posts indexed by book!

1, 2, & 3 John (April 2020)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 1 John published by Tom Vander Well in April 2020. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: The Ringing in My Ears
Chapter 2: Transformed by Love
Chapter 3: An Uncomfortable Realization
Chapter 4: Let it Flow
Chapter 5: Only When I Receive…
2 John: Incomplete Joy
3 John: “LandBnB.org”

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

Click on the image above for easy access to recent chapter-a-day posts indexed by book!