The Heart of the matter…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 26

 Of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

 Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.

 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

 I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.

 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.

 I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD,

 proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.

 O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.

 Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men,

 in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.

 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.

 My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.

 

Let us purpose to live a blameless life. In him we are perfect, for he sees us as we are, he knows our hearts, and we are covered by the precious blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit resides in us; we are redeemed. Not of our own doing, but thankfully it is the work of God within us bringing us to his perfection. God does not look upon us as we look upon each other. As David well knew; God looks on the heart. He knows if it is right with Him.

 

“search my mind and heart,” is a phrase David uses more than once. We too can pray; search us , our mind, our heart. We too can ask for the cleansing he brings. Let us “wash our hands in innocence and walk around the altar of God lifting our voices in thanks and proclaiming his wonders.”

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“Set our hearts…”

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 7:1-10

 Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,  son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,  son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth,  son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,  son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest—this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.   And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants.  And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.   For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him.   For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

Set our hearts, O Lord, to study your word; to do it and to teach it.  May we be found faithful and able.  May the hand of our God be upon us to show favor even in a land hostile to your teachings.  May the truth found in your word, O Lord, be made manifest; revealed to your people.  May it be received with gladness and may the ears, eyes and hearts of our people be opened to receive and understand your word and your ways.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

“I believe and so I speak…”

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

II Corinthians 4:18

 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.  But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.   In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.   So death is at work in us, but life in you. 

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,   knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.   For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

…I believed and so I spoke…

  “…having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart…

Do we stand on this?  We are not to be silent concerning the things of the kingdom of God.  We are not to lose heart when we face opposition.  The climate toward Christ is changing in our world; God said once  “Let light shine our of darkness,”  and it was so.

We can carry that light given by Christ; shine it into the darkness of this day.  Bring hope to the drowning unbeliever.  This is our charge.  Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Believe and speak…

A study of Proverbs – The Issue of Life part 2 reblogged…

A link to the original post: http://practicalbibleteaching.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-issue-of-life-part-2/

THE ISSUE OF LIFE–part 2

July 21, 2013 — Dale Hill

Pondering the Principles of Proverbs

FALLING ASLEEP ON DUTY

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Pro. 4:23 NLT)

In Part 1 we learned that your heart determines your life, which basically means that YOU determine your life. I say that, because it is up to you to guard your heart.

If you guard it, you have control.

If you do not guard it, you do not have control over your life, but are at the effect of anything and every thing that comes along.

Read more…

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The Issue of Life…

From Practical Bible Teaching, a great post on the issues of the heart.  This could be said to be the proverb behind the words that tell us “out of the heart the mouth speaks.”

http://practicalbibleteaching.weebly.com/2/post/2013/07/the-issue-of-life-part-1.html

THE ISSUE OF LIFE–part 1

July 15, 2013 — Dale Hill

Pondering the Principles of Proverbs

GuardHeartSnoopy “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Pro. 4:23 NLT)

I heard Billy Graham say, in effect, “I looked over the newspaper this morning and read about murders, rapes, robberies, adulteries, embezzlements and other problems in this city, and I wasn’t bothered.

“And that bothers me.”

Read more…

God decides…

Acts 15:1-11

And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.

So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.  And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.  But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ  we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

 “…all things that God had done…”  Why does mankind insist upon meddling with what God has done?   “…God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit,…”  God decides, not man.  Who are we to continually step in with our man-made rules and muddy the water?   “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ  we shall be saved…”  How do we receive salvation from the curse our sins bring upon us?  We believe that Jesus came to be the final sacrifice for those sins, we believe that his grace pardons our sins and restores us to a right relationship with God the Father.  We are made whole once again and set free from the bondage of mankind’s demands.   This statement does not advocate irresponsibility.  We pick up our responsibility to the Lord who so graciously granted us the freedom.  He set forth principles that guide our walk with Him, but those principles do not do the saving, His blood does the saving.  His resurrection gives eternal life.  We do nothing but accept His gift.  We cannot set ourselves free of the consequences of sin by our own actions.  We can only accept what He has done.  “… we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ  we shall be saved…”  Let us thank Him for that privilege and let it be what it is.  Then let us follow His commands and find a life that is full and eternal.

Genuine love shares…

Acts 14:8-

And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.  Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out  and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.  Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”  And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Paul shares.  God heals.  Men continue in their own ways  and ideologies, taking what they hear and see and applying it to what they know and think.  They continue to be deceived.  One had faith to be healed.  One was able to see with the eyes of his heart and receive from God.  The others were hindered by their  ideologies, clinging to their own ways.  Paul again shares the difference between the living and the dead and for that he is stoned.  God is with Him, and he continues to share the message he has received, moving on from that town.

 A recent conversation over  what is true love and what is coercion to attempt to get another to believe what is not in their belief system comes to life here.  True love, some would say, will allow these who wished to worship Paul and Barnabas to do so for that is their belief system and how they perceive the message and miracles done by the apostles.  Is that so?  Truly?  If so, why share the message in the first place?  They were doing no different, they were ascribing the actions of a living God to mankind.  This thinking is the thinking that created the necessity for Christ to come and die for the sins of mankind.  Paul  and Barnabas could have walked away, not rocked the boat, and allowed the people to continue in their deception.  They could have said their minds are closed, they cannot receive.  But they didn’t.  Why?  When you know someone is in harm’s way you do not out of love allow them to continue in that way without first making an effort to remove them from harms way. 

 If we believe that Christ is the way, the truth and the life, that no man comes to the Father but by Him as he said, then we have no choice but to share in the hope the other will receive that way to life. When the people continued in their ways of error, Paul and Barnabas made a last attempt to use it to further illustrate the message of a living God.  For that they suffered.  Would we sit in judgment of their actions and say they should have allowed the people to continue with their own beliefs?  Who are we to judge?  God only, knows the heart and God only, knows who will receive.  We know the consequences of rejecting Christ.  We know the benefits of accepting Him.  Those benefits begin now and continue to life eternal.  When one has a gift of that magnitude and keeps it to themselves that is not love.  We can ask with Paul, ““Men, why are you doing these things?”  Why would you not share?  The words of an atheist echo:  “How much do you have to hate someone to not share what you believe will save their life?”  http://youtu.be/VdvES4_MJ5Y  Do we love, truly, or do we hate?  In saying we love the person, regardless of where they are, does not mean we willingly allow them to remain in harm’s way.  It means we step up to the plate and share what we know, in love, in hopes they too will find life.  We demonstrate the opposite of love when refuse to share what we have.