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The healing power of writing…

Evidence of the Healing Power of Expressive Writing

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Seeking counseling from a therapist is one of the most common recommendations for people who are struggling to cope with a recent emotional upheaval or with past traumas. Yet writing therapy, or expressive writing, has proven to be a powerful, free, and easily accessible remedy for both the mind and the body.

Writing is a form of expressive therapy that uses the process of creative writing to cope with and heal from emotional trauma. The relationship between expressive writing and healing was first studied by Dr. James Pennebaker in the late 1980s, whose seminal study revealed striking benefits of writing about trauma.

In Pennebaker’s experiment, participants in the experimental group were instructed to write their deepest feelings and thoughts about a past trauma or emotional upheaval, while participants in the control group were instructed to simply write factually about superficial or neutral topics, without engaging with their emotions. Both groups wrote for 15 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Surprisingly, measurements of the participants’ cellular immune-system function and health center visits revealed that participants in the experimental group showed improved immune-system functioning (as evidenced by increased lymphocyte response) and had less visits to the health center in the following months than the control group.

The results of Pennebaker’s study suggest that confronting traumatic experiences is physically beneficial. It has long been assumed that inhibiting or repressing one’s feelings or thoughts negatively affects one’s health and can lead to long-term stress.

Coming to Terms with ‘Why?’

We seek to make sense of our experiences in life. When an unexpected trauma or emotional upheaval occurs – whether it is the death of a loved one, the sudden loss of employment and stability, or grave physical harm – we have an inherent desire to make sense of it all. We want to understand why it happened, and what to do next.

When we write about psychologically upsetting experiences, we actively confront the event and the emotions it has engendered. We are able to give perspective to the experience and its relation to the rest of our lives by opening up about the trauma and constructing an understandable narrative of what occurred. In this way, expressive writing is much like excising a wound – rather than obsessively ruminating about the event in a manner that yields no answers, thus allowing the painful experience to fester and possibly lead to mental health problems, expressive writing allows us to cognitively confront, process, and heal from the pain.

Visible Evidence

Pennebaker’s original expressive writing paradigm has been replicated in hundreds of studies, each measuring different potential effects of expressive writing. One such study examined the effect of expressive writing on wound healing in older adults. In the study, the experimental group engaged in expressive writing for 20 minutes a day for 3 consecutive days, while the control group wrote about daily activities. Two weeks after witting, all participants were given a biopsy wound on the inner arm. Surprisingly, participants in the expressive writing condition had a greater portion of the wound healed (76%) than did those in the control group (only 42% healed) after a period of 11 days.

It is important to understand that keeping a diary or writing about a traumatic event isn’t the same as expressive writing and will not yield the same health benefits. Simply ruminating about an emotional upheaval can actually negatively impact one’s health, and writing about trauma too soon after it occurred can be emotionally overwhelming. To write about the same traumatic experience over and over again is similarly detrimental – rather, deeply engaging with the writing in a way that truly evaluates the experience over a few consecutive days has proven to be the best way to process and heal.

Another study by Pennebaker examined the immunological effects of thought suppression, and involved participants writing about either nonemotional or emotional events with or without thought suppression. The results demonstrated a significant increase in total lymphocytes and overall immune system functioning in the emotional writing groups, while the participants in the thought suppression condition displayed a significant decrease in lymphocyte levels. This research suggests that thought suppression negatively impacts the immune system, while dealing with emotional trauma through expressive writing can actually improve immune system functioning.

No Appointment Necessary

Expressive writing is a free, simple, and readily available way to take care of our health and prevent the mental and physical harms caused by the stress of emotional upheaval. It can help us to cope with a number of neuroses, including depression, the pain of major life traumas such as bereavement, violence, or a sudden diagnosis of a serious illness. Expressive writing promotes healing, and can help us to better control our emotions, to stop ruminating or obsessing about a traumatic event and instead derive meaning from what happened.

By Meg O’Connor

7 Morning Habits That Can Affect Your Entire Day

t can be easy to fall into a morning routine without considering how it impacts you later in the day.

Mental Floss |

  • Danielle Braff

Your morning routine is like setting up a string of dominoes: You line everything up for success, but one false move can cause it all to come tumbling down. In order to set the right tone for the rest of your day, experts say you should adjust the following seven habits.

1. Hitting the Snooze Button

It’s tempting to steal a few more minutes of sleep, but hitting snooze has a negative impact on your physical and emotional well-being, says Joanna Kleinman, owner of The Center for Extraordinary Relationships. “Physically, hitting the snooze button actually sets you up to be groggy and less productive because you are repeatedly waking yourself out of a deep sleep,” Kleinman says. “Emotionally, you set yourself up to be late, rushed, and stressed in the morning.”

The obvious solution, Kleinman says, is getting out of bed right away (even if it seems impossible). “If we listen to our minds telling us what we feel like doing, we will never be able to make the positive changes we need to,” Kleinman says.

2. Checking Your Phone

Doing this first thing in the morning stimulates self-criticism and judgments in your mind, Kleinman says. “Your emails and texts are all about things to do, things to buy, things to add to your to-do list,” she says. “This amounts to either the stuff that other people want you to be paying attention to, or what your mind says you should be paying attention to.”

Even if you leave your inbox alone and stick to Instagram, you can do harm to your psyche because social media causes you to compare yourself to other people. Bottom line: Checking your phone first thing can awaken your inner critic. To stop yourself from opening Twitter immediately after turning off your alarm, charge your phone in another room. Begin your day instead with a self-affirming habit like journaling or meditation.

3. Planning Your Day

If you wake up and have no idea what’s on your schedule, where you have to be, or what you’re going to wear, then your day is already off to a frantic start. Psychologist and Certified Master Coach Joel Ingersoll recommends organizing your day the night before. This way, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go in the morning.

4. Drinking Water…

You may be craving a cup of coffee as soon as your feet hit the floor, but what your body really needs is a glass of water, Ingersoll says. Since you haven’t had any liquids in your system for at least six (or hopefully eight) hours, your body is dehydrated. You can have the coffee (see below), but your body will function better—you’ll have fewer headaches, less fatigue, and smaller bags under your eyes—if you down a glass of water first, Ingersoll says.

5. …and Coffee

Don’t feel guilty about reaching for the coffee pot after you’ve had your water—it is actually good for your body, too, says Ilyse Schapiro, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist. “Coffee is a great source of antioxidants, and it can increase energy as well as help to stabilize our moods,” Schapiro says. “It can also help keep our brains healthier and our minds sharper.”

Too much coffee isn’t going to do you any favors, though. Stick with one or two cups a day, and be consistent with how much you drink, or else you’ll start getting headaches and withdrawal symptoms.

6. Skipping Breakfast

Have you been told to eat a good breakfast before? That’s because it’s important, says Bruno LoGreco, life coach and author of Stop Sabotaging Your Life. “Eating a healthy breakfast consisting of nuts, fruits, and oats will satisfy your brain to get you through a tough day at the office,” LoGreco says. It’s best to skip the doughnuts and croissants, though, as these will give you a sugar high and set you up for a crash just as you reach your desk.

7. Rising Early

A study published by the American Psychological Association found that early risers are happier and more successful than those who go to bed late. They tend to be more proactive, get better grades, and better anticipate and minimize problems.

Danielle Braff is a freelance writer in Chicago. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Women’s Health, Self and Marie Claire, among others. She lives with her husband, their two daughters, two cats and a dog. Check out her other work at Daniellebraff.com.

Amazed – Lonestar

Every time our eyes meet
This feeling inside me
Is almost more than I can take
Baby, when you touch me
I can feel how much you love me
And it just blows me away
I’ve never been this close to anyone or anything
I can hear your thoughts, I can see your dreamsI don’t know how you do what you do
I’m so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Baby, I’m amazed by youThe smell of your skin
The taste of your kiss
The way you whisper in the dark
Your hair all around me
Baby, you surround me
Touch every place in my heart
And it feels like the first time every time
I want to spend the whole night in your eyesI don’t know how you do what you do
I’m so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Baby, I’m amazed by youEvery little thing that you do
I’m so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do, oh
Every little thing that you do
Baby, I’m amazed by you

I'm Already There – Lonestar

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I’m Already ThereLonestarHe called her on the road
From a lonely, cold hotel room
Just to hear her say I love you one more time
But when he heard the sound
Of the kids laughing in the background
He had to wipe away a tear from his eye
A little voice came on the phone
Said, “Daddy when you coming home?”
He said the first thing that came to his mindI’m already there
Take a look around
I’m the sunshine in your hair
I’m the shadow on the ground
I’m the whisper in the wind
I’m your imaginary friend
And I know I’m in your prayers
Oh, I’m already thereShe got back on the phone
Said I really miss you, darling
Don’t worry about the kids–they’ll be all right
Wish I was in your arms
Lying right there beside you
But I know that I’ll be in your dreams tonight
And I’ll gently kiss your lips
Touch you with my fingertips
So turn out the light and close your eyesI’m already there
Don’t make a sound
I’m the beat in your heart
I’m the moonlight shining down
I’m the whisper in the wind
And I’ll be there until the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh, I’m already thereWe may be a thousand miles apart
But I’ll be with you wherever you areI’m already there
Take a look around
I’m the sunshine in your hair
I’m the shadow on the ground
I’m the whisper in the wind
And I’ll be there until the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh, I’m already there
Oh, I’m already there

I'm Not Who I Was – Brandon Heath

I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I’m not who I wasI used to be mad at you
A little on the hurt side too
But I’m not who I wasI found my way around
To forgiving you some time ago
But I never got to tell you soI found us in a photograph
I saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I’m not who I wasYou were there, you were right above me
And I wonder if you ever loved me
Just for who I wasWhen the pain came back again
Like a bitter friend it was all that I could do
To keep myself from blaming youI reckon it’s a funny thing
I figured out I can sing
Now I’m not who I wasI write about love and such
Maybe ’cause I want it so much
I’m not who I wasI was thinking maybe I
I should let you know that I am not the same
But I never did forget your name, helloWell the thing I find most amazing
In amazing grace is the chance to give it out
Maybe that’s what love is all aboutI wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I’m not who I was

Source: LyricFindSongwriters: Brandon Heath

Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

Bless the Broken Road

Rascal Flatts

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through

I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you
That every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms

This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yes it did

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
And others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know it’s true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yeah

And now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

That God blessed the broken road
Ooh, ooh
That led me straight to you

Having a Servants Heart…

Philippians 2:3-5 ESV

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Ephesians 6:7 ESV

Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,

2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Galatians 5:13 ESV

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Mark 10:43-45 ESV

But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

1 Peter 5:5 ESV

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Luke 10:30-37 ESV

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. …

1 Timothy 5:8 ESV

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 10:27 ESV

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Mark 10:45 ESV

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 13:12-17 ESV

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. …

Romans 12:11 ESV

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Matthew 25:23 ESV

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

1 Peter 2:1-25 ESV

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. …

John 12:25-26 ESV

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; …

Matthew 23:11 ESV

The greatest among you shall be your servant.

Joshua 22:5 ESV

Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

2 Timothy 2:24 ESV

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

Colossians 3:23 ESV

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Proverbs 4:23 ESV

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Matthew 23:11-12 ESV

The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Romans 13:4 ESV

For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Psalm 51:10 ESV

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Matthew 20:26 ESV

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

Psalm 37:4 ESV

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Philippians 2:6-7 ESV

Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Mark 9:35 ESV

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Romans 12:1 ESV

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Matthew 20:28 ESV

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Psalm 19:14 ESV

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Matthew 25:40 ESV

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Romans 14:17-19 ESV

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

John 3:30 ESV

He must increase, but I must decrease.”

1 Peter 4:10 ESV

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Philippians 2:5 ESV

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 2:3 ESV

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Romans 12:10 ESV

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

John 13:12-15 ESV

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

Luke 22:24-27 ESV

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

1 John 1:9 ESV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Ephesians 1:4 ESV

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

Luke 22:24-30 ESV

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, …

1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

John 13:1 ESV

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Matthew 5:19 ESV

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Proverbs 17:22 ESV

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

1 Peter 5:6 ESV

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

Matthew 22:37 ESV

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Psalm 119:10 ESV

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

Colossians 3:12 ESV  

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

Philippians 1:1-30 ESV  

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. …

Ephesians 2:8 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

John 14:15 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Proverbs 27:19 ESV

As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.

Psalm 1:1-6 ESV

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; …

Colossians 3:16 ESV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Ephesians 1:3 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Philippians 2:1-30 ESV

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …

John 3:16-17 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Mark 11:23 ESV

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Mark 9:33-34 ESV

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.

Matthew 6:1-34 ESV

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

Colossians 2:1-23 ESV

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. …

Philippians 2:1 ESV

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,

Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Proverbs 10:8 ESV

The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

James 4:6 ESV

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Galatians 6:2 ESV

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Acts 6:1-6 ESV

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. …

John 13:1-38 ESV

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. …

Proverbs 16:18 ESV

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 3:1-2 ESV

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.

Psalm 119:7 ESV

I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.

Psalm 119:2 ESV

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,

Psalm 20:4 ESV

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Ezekiel 36:27 ESV

And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Proverbs 3:3-4 ESV

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

Psalm 90:12 ESV

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 31:24 ESV

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Psalm 32:1-11 ESV

A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah …

1 Peter 5:2 ESV

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;

1 Timothy 4:12 ESV

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. …

Matthew 6:33 ESV

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Colossians 3:1-25 ESV

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. …

2 Corinthians 11:2 ESV

For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

Nehemiah 4:17-18 ESV

Who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.

Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.