A New Heart

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51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! — Acts 7:51 NLT
Stephen has just recited a short summary of all the things God had brought the Israelis through and the miracles He had performed in bringing them to the Promised Land.  Stephen also reminded them that God did this for them in spite of their unbelief and unfaithfulness.  He did it as a fulfillment of His covenant with their ancestors. Even though God was faithful, the Israelis were not, refusing to listen to Moses and any of the prophets God sent to them with messages warning them to repent and be obedient to God.  Instead they persecuted and murdered the prophets choosing to remain in their sinful ways and worship idols made by human hands.  The people Stephen was addressing were still following in their ancestor’s paths, choosing to kill the Messiah rather than to give up their worldly ways and repent.   If Stephen were here today, he could add the history of our country to his discourse and the accusation would still be true.  After all the years of God blessing this country with His abundance, we are still a “stubborn people, heathen at heart and deaf to the truth”.  More and more, as each day passes by, we become a more sinful nation.  We refuse to believe that God will punish us just as He punished the Israelis.  We must pray that God will have mercy on this nation of ours, that He will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and write His name upon our hearts.

Even though this was a promise God made to the Israelis, His chosen people, may He see fit to extend His mercies to us because, as Christians, we are a people chosen by Him as well.
 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-17-2018

Cleaned and Filled

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10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NKJV

What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts?  An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin.  The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts.  We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us.  We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts.  Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty.  An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.


24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
 

Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so.  Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”.  It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-29-2018

Raised To A New Life by a Mighty Power!

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12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. – Col. 2:12 NLT
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law given in the Old Testament. God is no longer concerned with whether or not, we are circumcised physically, His concern is with what is going on in our hearts. Our water baptism is an outward symbol of us going through the death and resurrection with Jesus, therefore our flesh is buried with Jesus and we are symbolically raised from the dead with Jesus. We are raised as new creations in Christ Jesus. All of our sin debt has been paid in full. There are no outstanding charges against us now. We need to hang onto that promise because satan is going to come around trying to convince us that we are not set free.   Don’t listen to him, he is a murderer, a thief and a liar. If he can convince us that we are still guilty, he will destroy our testimony and make us useless in the kingdom here on earth. We must ask Jesus to be Lord over our lives and submit totally to His will. If we do this, when satan comes around. he will flee from us. So, when we have done everything God has asked us to do in a situation, then just stand firm and resist. How do we resist the devil? We do the same thing Jesus did, we use the Word to resist him. This means we must spend time in the word learning what God says about our rights and our position in Him.

 

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. — James 4:7, 8

Once we have rebuked satan with the word, we just need to stand firm.  God will do the rest, the power of His word will send satan scampering away. But we must stay on the alert, he will sneak back around and try the same and/or other tactics to try to weaken our resolve. 

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-01-2018

Strong Ties of Love

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 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. – Col. 2:2a NLT
 
Paul continually intercedes with God for the churches that he has planted and for those churches that his coworkers have planted. He realizes that when there are only a few believers present, it is easy for them to become discouraged and start to drop out.  He wants them to be encouraged and united in love. All Christians, particularly new Christians need to be encouraged and taught the riches of the Gospel.  We do new converts a disservice when we fail to mentor them in their walk with Christ. The world, satan and his gang are going to immediately start a concentrated effort to make the new converts doubt that there has been a change in their lives.  We must strive to get them rooted and established in the depth of the riches of the word of God. If we or they are not consistent in our study and our walk with God, it is easy for satan to separate us and make our lives to be miserable and ineffective for God. We must understand and teach others that regardless of our own feelings and the exterior circumstances, there is great wisdom and greater joy in serving Jesus and living a lifestyle that follows His example. Just a glimpse of the vast expanse and depth of His love and power should be sufficient reason for us to carry on.
 

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-27-2018

Whose Approval Are We Seeking?

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18 When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. – 2 Cor. 10:18 NLT
We live in a world of almost total deception.  We are taught that other people’s opinions of us are based on externals.  To win friends and influence people, all men must have six-packs and all women must look like professional models.  We must dress in the latest styles and wear the brand names or we will become outcasts in our society.  Our self-worth has become based on popularity and what others think about us.  If that is how we come to determine our self-worth, we are headed for a lifetime of misery and big disappointments. We need to be sure that we understand that the one Person we need to approve of us is Jesus.  Jesus, the one who thought we were worthy of His death, is the one we need to impress. And we can only do that, if the internals are right.  Our hearts and our mindsets must align with the Scriptures and not the latest fads.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ​
 — Psalm 51:10-12 NIV
We can stress ourselves out everyday chasing the latest and greatest things that the world throws at us to be popular and we will end up worried, tired and unhappy. Or we can choose to live lifestyles that commend us to Jesus, put our feet on the Rock, rest in His arms and live a life filled with joy and peace.
 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-21-2018

God Looks Deep Within the Heart

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16 When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? – 1 Cor. 10:16 NLT
 
When we take the Communion, we are all symbolically partaking of the same body and the same blood. This has been true ever since Jesus set the example with the disciples in the Upper Room. No matter what time it is in eternity, we are all bound together by that one body and one blood and it will be culminated in heaven when we all partake of the Communion at the great banquet table. So, we should never defile that practice by partaking of anything that has been sacrificed to idols or to demons of any sort. We cannot serve two masters and our God is a jealous God. We do not want to provoke Him.

13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), —Exodus 34:13, 14 NKJV
While we may not bow to wooden or golden images, we can still have things that we treasure more dearly than our relationship with God. These things or people are just as much an idol as any graven image. Each of us needs to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the things in our lives that grieve Him. Those things are our idols.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting-Psalm 139:23, 24 NKJV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-27-2018

A Heart That Longs for God

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17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. 18 For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. 19 For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.—1 Cor. 7:17-19 NLT

When we are called by the Holy Spirit and we accept Jesus as our Savior, there most likely won’t be any great or significant changes in our appearance or our vocations. There probably won’t be any changes in the personality that God gave us when we were born. God is not too concerned with our outward appearance. Our outward appearance and situation have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation. What God does expect is a change of the heart. If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our desires will change. We will want to follow God’s commandments simply because we love Him too much not to do so. He takes out the old stony heart and replaces it with a heart that desires His presence.

26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.—Ezekiel 36:26,27 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 02-18-2018