The Thoughtful Heart

“Be careful what you think, your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23, The New Century Version).  This same verse is translated by the NIV as “Guard your heart, for it’s the wellspring of life.”  Heartfelt thoughtfulness is likened to the inner source of strength for the vitality of our livess…out of which pours forth blessing, honor, grace, peace, encouragement and love.  The Bible is replete with examples of how a thoughtful heart pleases God and empowers others. What are the thoughts which are resident deep within your heart today?

In one of his concluding admonitions, the Apostle Paul urges the Church in Philippi with this clear exhortation, “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” (Phil. 4:8). These eight attributes of a thoughtful heart are worthy of our consideration as well.

1. True:  all that’s agreeable to the unchangeable, eternal truth, both in God’s Word and in the natural world

2. Noble:  whatever is honest, grave, or venerable in speech, in contrast to levity and frivolity that withholds integrity

3.  Right: that which is just between two individuals and in relationship between God and humankind, in opposition to injustice, violence and oppression

4.  Pure:  whatsoever is virtuous in word and deed, in agreement with the will of God and promotes holiness of heart and life

5.  Lovely:  that which cultivates and increases love, friendship, and cordiality among individuals, and which is lovely in the sight of God

6.  Admirable:  of good report, well spoken of, which leads to a name and a reputation which is precious, respectful, kind and virtuous

7. Excellent: the virtue of promoting the general good of all,  with outstanding merit, gracefulness, and godly intent

8. Praiseworthy:  deserving commendation by others due to the stewardship and generosity offered to all who cross one’s path

A thoughtful heart considers ways to fan into flame these eight attributes, all of which contribute to the health of the body and the expansion of the kingdom of God. When righteousness and holiness dominate our thoughts, then our hearts and lives are expressed in agreement with the seeds planted in our minds.  The most thoughtful people in our lives believe the best of God for the totality of our days, and pour courage into our hearts as a result. Choose thoughtfulness toward others and think about these things, letting them penetrate the deepest recesses of your spiritual mind and activate the richest charity toward others.

When the believer in Jesus Christ both practices and recommends these eight thoughtful exhortations, then the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is fulfilled through the heart of the Church, for the sake of the heart of another, and for the expansion of the Kingdom of God here on earth.  The thoughtful heart is a true reflection of God’s heart, forever considerate of our best interests and our greatest needs. Will this become your prayer and the choice of your will as well?

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.