Keep the Heart

Life has issues, and the Bible has the answers.
Francie Taylor teaches the relevance of
Scripture to daily life through these brief
Bible application studies.

Surviving an Explosion in Life

August 9th, 2021

Have you ever had something happen in your life that made you wonder, "What just happened here?"

Heartbreaking events create a pressure in life that is like an explosion.  First, there is shock as a person processes information that knocks them off their feet, and then the pain begins. As pain transitions into a cold numbness, it leaves behind side-effects that take time to resolve. Explosions in families, marriages, ministry, and more are reminders of our perilous times.

What can we do after something has happened to cause the earth to feel like it is crumbling beneath our feet? How do we recover when tragedy strikes, leaving us dazed and wounded? There are some things that we can do, and we'll cover these suggestions in this episode.

Teachers of Good Things--book

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When You Can’t Talk About It

August 2nd, 2021

People in the Old and New Testament had painful things happen in their lives that people wouldn't tend to freely discuss:

  • King David murdered Uriah to cover up his adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. (2 Sam. 11:1-17). The baby from this adulterous relationship died abruptly.
  • Abigail was married to Nabal, a wealthy and powerful man who was also a disagreeable drunk. (1 Sam. 25:3). We can only guess the challenges she had.
  • Jonah struggled with discouragement and depression (Jonah 4:8). He wanted to die even after his miraculous survival from living in a fish belly for three days.
  • Judas committed suicide (Matt. 27:3-5). This had to have been so sad for the disciples who considered him a friend, but have you ever wondered how his parents felt?

All of these accounts from Scripture prove that we are not the first to have things happen in our lives that are uncommonly hard. Sometimes things happen that we just can’t discuss openly with others, and this may lead to feelings of isolation and despair.

This episode offers four suggestions for walking through those times when we’re dealing with issues that we’re not free to discuss. We need wisdom when we’re secretly carrying a heavy burden. When you can't talk about it, you may feel lonely, but you are not alone.

ICU--In Christ Unconditionally: Old Testament Bible Application Study

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Backsliding Looks Like This

July 26th, 2021

There are times in life when we are really vulnerable to spiritual attacks. For some, the stress of the pandemic has led to a lukewarmness about Bible reading, church attendance, or other healthy spiritual habits. For others, the passing of a loved one has left a painful fog of grief mingled with indifference to anything spiritual. Or maybe it’s a matter of who has access to your thinking. Are you spending a lot of time with people who are not interested in godly living? Regardless of the cause, any of us could go through seasons when we’re spiritually vulnerable, increasing the temptation to backslide.

Anything we do in this life is tied to our spiritual health. If we’re spiritually healthy, it’s reflected in our choices. The same is true if we’re spiritually unhealthy: it will show.

Are you in the process of backsliding? Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines a backslider as “one who falls from faith and practice of religion.” We know that Christianity is a relationship; but the word “religion” is in the Bible, and it’s referring to our worship of God. So, in this sense, backsliding is the act of falling from our faith back into habits and behaviors that are selfish and biblically off base.

What if you or someone you love is heading in the wrong direction? Let’s look at a brief list of indicators, and then we’ll consider what we can do about it.

Ponder the Path 31-Day Devotional

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How to Give Wise Counsel

July 19th, 2021

You finally got together with that sister friend for a long overdue cup of coffee. The conversation was general small talk until suddenly, your friend looked at you and said, "Can I talk to you about something?" As she unfolded her problem, you were wondering if you could truly help. Giving counsel is a very serious matter. After all, we surely don't want to add new problems to existing ones.

Biblical counseling includes purposeful advice with scriptural guidance and planning. It's not just a couple of people venting or passing opinions back and forth. Bring a notebook and pen to this episode. We'll cover a list of five instructions designed to help you as you're helping others.

"Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end." (Proverbs 19:20)

ICU--In Christ Unconditionally New Testament Case Studies

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Signs of a Controlling Person

July 12th, 2021

The desire to control the outcomes and people in our lives is a very common temptation. It’s a flawed thread woven into the fabric of our lives, making us tense and anxious. It’s also a tendency that comes with our carnal nature, feeding on imaginations that we know what’s best. 

Being in control of life’s circumstances is an illusion and a delusion. We can trick ourselves into believing that if we manipulate situations just right, things will turn out according to our desires. The problem with this plot is that we’re out of line. People with control issues also have major trust issues, and the lack of trust starts with God and then works its way down into other relationships.

This episode is directed to the controlling types. We can’t dive deeply into this topic in eleven minutes, so let’s just consider three signs of a controlling person, and some suggestions on ways to give up this draining habit while inspiring improvements.

ICU--In Christ Unconditionally: Heart Conditions Bible Application Study

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Escaping the Envy Trap

July 5th, 2021

Was someone given the job that you wanted and now you’re unhappy because you thought that you were better suited for the position? And no matter how hard you've tried not to think about it, does your mind keep replaying the painful tape?

Or maybe a friend of yours just had something fabulous happen in her life, and you’re wondering why she gets all the fabulous while you get all the ordinary. When would it be your turn? Why were great things happening to everyone but you?

Are you looking at someone else’s life and thinking that they have what you want? If so, you’re wrestling with envy and it's keeping you pinned to the mat. Envy will trap you in a competition that you can’t win because it is never satisfied.

Proverbs 27:4 makes a statement and then asks a question: "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?" Who is able to stand before envy? No one. Compared to wrath and anger, envy comes up as the hardest on the list. It’s like a self-inflicted gunshot wound, causing pain that could have been avoided.

There is nothing good about the consuming emotion of envy. It’s such a spirit crusher! One of the easiest ways to keep your life in a negative loop is to allow envy to creep in and color your world. Regardless of what caused the envy, exposing it to the light will help you to call it by name and face this foe. This episode examines three ways that envy warps our world, and what we can do to escape the envy trap.

Ponder the Path 31-Day Devotional

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Making a Difficult Marriage Better

July 1st, 2021

BONUS EPISODE: There are many things that may make marriage difficult: A job loss, a change in health, poor communication skills, trouble with young adults, interfering relatives, a contentious woman, an angry man, or you fill in the blank.

Get a notebook to jot down five observations and suggestions on how to ride out the ups and downs that happen after the "I do." This bonus episode is not meant to be a substitute for Christian marriage counseling, but we hope that it will help with small things that often become big. If you are going through something that's extreme in your marriage, a Christian counselor will be a very vital resource. 

Making a Difficult Marriage Better was originally taught at a women's Bible conference, but it's condensed for this podcast. Most episodes on Keep the Heart will cover the "issues of life" affecting a general audience, but occasionally we'll do a bonus episode that is more like a breakout session. This would also make a good episode to share with a small group, and then you could have an engaging discussion at the end. 

Making up your own marriage rules is like drawing up a faulty map that leads to the wrong destination. Following God’s directions for relationships will lead to the right destination because He knows the way. Actually, He is the way.

Rough Patches: Navigating Marital Hard Spots eBook

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Sharing Your Faith Thoughtfully

June 28th, 2021

How can we share the Gospel in a world that is so seemingly antagonistic to anything related to Christianity? In a word: thoughtfully. While news media reports continue to paint the world as fully divided, people are still seeking answers for how to live, and they want the truth. That's the same as seeking Christ.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

As people trust Christ, this impacts our society in a positive way, one soul at a time. There are so many creative ways that we can share the Gospel in this desperate world, but we first have to care. Has your desire to share Christ with others grown cold? This episode will give you reminders along with ideas that you can use right away. 

ICU--In Christ Unconditionally: Old Testament Bible Application Study

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Stop Talking to Yourself Like That

June 21st, 2021

When we speak discouraging or negative words to ourselves, we’re not helping our situations. We’re just giving ourselves a few more reasons to feel bad. Do you talk to yourself? Most people do, but what if the scripts in our minds were projected onto forehead screens where anyone could read them? Would we edit what we've been saying to ourselves?

Try to think of the last time you had a gracious thought about yourself for anything unrelated to physical appearance or numbers on a scale. I’m not talking about being conceited; I’m talking about extending the same grace to yourself that you would to others. Have you ever thanked the Lord for who you are in Him, or do you repeatedly allow negative chatter and unproven fears to dominate the airwaves of your mind? God can fix this flaw, but we have to yield our hearts and minds to Him for spiritual transformation.

The topic of having a “noisy head” is nothing new, but I'd like to give you some things to consider to help make your thought life more beneficial. Get ready for three reasons why we need to rule over the things that we say to ourselves. Our thoughts may not be audible to others, but God hears us loud and clear.

Ponder the Path 31-Day Devotional

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The Secret Life is Not So Secret

June 14th, 2021

Have you ever prayed and asked the Lord to reveal any sin in your life, only to have Him point out something that you really didn’t think was wrong? We don't see things as clearly as God sees them. Our vision is imperfect.

There's a good chance that someone listening to this episode has a secret life and you’d probably prefer that it would never be revealed, but God already knows all about it. Whether it’s double-standard living, harboring envy, hiding something from your spouse, or some other sin, here is the reality:  The secret life is not so secret.

A secret life of sin can stunt our growth, limit our service, and harm our reputations.  This episode explores common areas where we tend to justify things that are unbiblical and displeasing to God, followed by suggested solutions. Ultimately, it is up to you to ask God to search and try you personally. He has the ability to cleanse us from "secret faults."

"Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Psalm 19:12)

ICU--In Christ Unconditionally: Heart Conditions Bible Application Study

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